Rajasthan reels under rains, toll 33; Army called for relief



Rajasthan reels under rains, toll 33; Army called for relief Jaipur: Army was on Friday roped in for rescue and relief work in Rajasthan in the wake of torrential rainfall which has claimed 33 lives so far and left many districts facing a flood-like situation.

Rajasthan, which had a rainfall deficit of 29.69 per cent on August 9 and was fearing a drought, has now received 4.89 per cent above normal rainfall after two days of downpour, officials said.

An elderly couple was killed after a wall collapsed on them in Churutaking the death toll to 33.

"65-year-old Parmanand, an ex-armyman, and his wife were killed in a wall-collapse incident in Shobhasar village in Sujangarh town today," SP, Churu, Omprakash said, adding few areas in the district were inundated following heavy rainfall.

The civil administration in Sikar, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Dholpur, Bharatpur and Dausa was struggling to provide relief with many low-lying areas in these districts as well as in Jaipur facing water-logging. Various colonies, towns have been submerged and thousands of people have been shifted to relief camps and other safer places.

Low-lying areas in Jaipur, Laxmangarh and Nawalgarh town in Sikar district and Sikar city, few villages near Chambal river in Dholpur district faced the brunt of the rainfall.

Army assistance was provided for rescue operations in Jaipur and Sikar district, defence spokesperson S D Goswami said.

Goswami said that relief columns were rushed to Sikar. These comprise of troops trained in execution of all types of rescue and relief tasks in areas facing flood or flood-like situation, along with the requisite equipment, medical team and other support elements of the Army.

The Rajasthan government has asked the Central team, which was scheduled to arrive here to assess the drought situation, to postpone their visit for some time because of the heavy rains, they said.

"Sikar city and Laxmangarh town are the worst affected at present where many areas have been inundated whereas the situation in Jaipur and Dausa district is under control though relief works are on in full swing," state minister for Disaster Management and Relief Brijendra Singh Ola said.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has appealed to people in the affected areas to keep patience and directed officials to make sure that relief work is done in a proper manner in all the areas facing trouble due to the rainfall.

Ola said the state government was getting ready to handle drought crisis but the situation has turned almost upside down and money had to be released to handle flood-like situation created after heavy rainfall during the last couple of days.

"We (the government) have asked the central government team which was to arrive here to assess the drought to postpone their visit for some time," he said. Meanwhile, sowing in the state for Kharif crops has been done in 122 lakh hectare which is 82 per cent of the total targeted area for this season, an official of the agriculture department said.

He said that the recent rains have improved situation from agriculture point of view.

Ola also said that the rainfall would play positive factor for agriculture sector as a whole.

The water-level at few areas in Sikar district rose to four to five feet and transport facilities in Shekhawati region, comprising Sikar and Jhunjhunu districts, was hit.

People at many places alleged that there was delay in rescue work. Goswami said 10,000 sand bags and 10 water pumps were also provided from South Western command to the civil administration.

In Jaipur, the state Urban Development and Housing minister Shanti Dhariwal visited the affected areas along with the Mayor Jyoti Khandelwal and senior officials.

Additional District Collector (Jaipur), Arun Garg, said that situation in the district was now improving.

"Pumping out of rain water is still on in Madrampura and Jawahar Nagar while the situation is normal at other places," he said.

Garg also informed that the requirement of food packets has also gone down. "We distributed 33,000 food packets in the district yesterday while the requirement today was 20,000," he said.

Few houses, which were in dilapidated conditions, collapsed in Ajmer district after the rainfall.

However, no casualty was reported. Some places in Bikaner, including Loonkaransar and Nokha towns, and Nagaur district also received heavy rains till morning today.

The South-West monsoon has been active in Eastern parts of the state during the last 24 hours, the Met department said.

"Heavy to very heavy rainfall occurred in Bikaner and Nagaur districts, while light to moderate rains occurred at many places in Bikaner division, few places in Jaipur division and isolated areas in other divisions," a Met report said.

There is no warning for heavy rains anywhere in the state during next 24-hours.

Lunkaransar town in Bikaner district recorded 15 cm rainfall followed by Jayal in Nagaur which received 10 cm in the last 24 hours.

Nagaur received 9 cm while Nokha (Bikaner), Dataramgarh (Sikar) and Sikar city each recorded 6 cm, Buhana (Jhunjhunu) and Laxmangarh (Sikar) recorded 5 and 4 cm rainfall respectively.

Bharatpur is also facing flood-like situation, sources said.

PTI