Heavy rains continue in three states; Maharashtra CM reviews situation, thousands affected
Schools and colleges in Sangli and Kolhapur have been closed as well as in Mulshi, Velha, Bhor and Maval tehsils of Pune.
Mumbai: Heavy rains continue to wreak havoc in several states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka, affecting thousands of people and leaving hundreds stranded on Wednesday. Even though the situation appears to be improving slightly in flood-hit eastern states of Bihar and Assam, it has severely affected the normal life in Maharashtra's Kolhapur and surrounding areas.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday reviewed the situation via video-conferencing and directed the state officials to do all that they can to help the affected people in flood-hit areas. Kolhapur, Sangli, Raigarh, Palghar, Pune, Satara, Ratnagiri are among several districts in western Maharashtra which have been severely hit by incessant rains.
Top state ministers, including Subhash Deshmukh, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, PWD Minister Eknath Shinde, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam, and top officials attended the review meeting.
''All 4 NDRF teams from Goa are deployed and undertaking rescue operations. 14 Navy teams have also reached. Teams from Pune and Mumbai have landed at Kolhapur. Five teams are preparing to get deployed. The state government has written to the Centre for sending 10 more teams,'' the office of CM Fadnavis said.
Nearly 53,000 people have been evacuated and taken to safer places in Sangli alone, while about 11432 people in Kolhapur and 3,000 people in Raigarh have been rescued so far.
According to Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar, the flood situation in Kolhapur and Sangli was “critical” as several rivers in the region were flowing above the danger mark. ''So far, 1 lakh 40 thousand people have been evacuated and shifted to safer places, he said while adding that “due to incessant rains, rivers in Sangli and Kolhapur are flowing above the danger mark. Three villages in Kolhapur with 7,000 people have got cut off completely and efforts are on to evacuate them.”
He added that 34 out of 103 bridges have gone underwater due to the rains in the past few days. Amrut Natekar, Deputy Collector, Pune, said, ''Three flights with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Navy personnel along with relief material had left for Kohlapur today.''
Pune Division consists of Pune, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Solapur districts, all in the western part of the state. Schools and colleges in Sangli and Kolhapur have been closed as well as in Mulshi, Velha, Bhor and Maval tehsils of Pune.
Maharashtra Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation Subhash Deshmukh reviewed the flood situation in Pune, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur districts. The minister directed the officials to provide relief as quickly as possible and urged citizens to not believe in rumours. Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil too visited the flood-hit areas in Pune.
In view of the flood-like situation in the state, Chief Minister Fadnavis had called up Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Karnataka counterpart BS Yediyurappa, requesting help for the lakhs of the affected people.
Fadnavis requested Rajnath to help coordinate and expedite flood rescue and relief efforts through agencies like the National Disaster Response Force, the Army, the Air Force, the Coast Guard and others in the worst-hit Kolhapur and Sangli districts.
He also spoke with his Karnataka counterpart Yediyurappa and urged him to discharge water from the Almatti Dam which can ease the situation for Maharashtra. He was assured of all possible help from the Centre and the Karnataka government, an official from the Maharashtra Chief Minister`s Office (CMO) said.
Fadnavis, who was in Yavatmal district for his ongoing 'Mahajanadesh Yatra,' reviewed the flood situation in the state's western and southern parts and discussed the issue with Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta. He also announced that he was breaking the Yatra for a day to return to Mumbai and monitor the flood situation in the state`s southern parts.
In Maharashtra, Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and their surroundings have been lashed with heavy rains virtually non-stop since the past five days leading to water-logging and a flood-like situation in many cities, towns and villages. Normal life in the city of Mumbai came to a standstill due to Mumbai rains for the past two days as the city got battered by heavy rainfall during the weekend.
Disaster management authorities earlier said that nearly 10,000 people have been rescued to safer locations from Pune, Sangli and Satara and more evacuation operations are in progress. Officials estimate over 50,000 people may be directly or indirectly hit by the floods in urban and rural centres in these districts as rains continued to batter the region since the past five days. A Coast Guard spokesperson in Mumbai said that rescue operations are on in Kolhapur, Sangli and Karnataka`s Dharwad.
According to latest status reports, the Panchganga River is flowing above danger levels, while electricity generation had to be stopped temporarily at the overflowing Radhanagari Dam. Thousands of people in several villages in Shirol, Hatkanangale, Chikhali, Ambewadi have been severely hit besides the erstwhile royal city of Kolhapur, and normal life completely paralysed as incessant rains continued on Tuesday.
Two teams of the NDRF are coordinating the rescue, shifting of marooned people from various areas, while Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are also helping out the efforts with helicopters and expert personnel.
The state government is air-lifting six more teams and navy boats to Kolhapur on Tuesday, while four boats of the NDRF are being dispatched from Pune to Sangli, said the CMO.
The busy Pune-Bengaluru Highway has been shut for all traffic as a precautionary measure in view of the torrential rain, besides other state and district roads from where incidents of landslide and boulder crashes have been reported, though there are no casualties.
Minor landslides and boulder crash in south-eastern parts of the Western Ghats compelled the Central Railway to short-terminate, short-originate, divert several trains bound for South Indian destinations, while the 17031 Mumbai-Hyderabad Express has been cancelled on Tuesday.
According to the IMD Mumbai, the Doppler radars in Mumbai and Goa on the west coast indicate active monsoons conditions prevailing over entire South Konkan to Karnataka coast, south-central Maharashtra, with Kolhapur and Satara showing heavy clouds, and monsoons will continue in these regions over the next few days.
Incessant rain accompanied by gusty winds continued to pound the Shivamogga district on Wednesday disrupting the road connectivity and power supply in several parts of the city. The traffic along National Highway 766C that connects Byndoor with Ranebennur was affected for sometime owing to a landslip near Nagodi village in Hosanagar taluk.
Similarly, the vehicular movement along Shivamogga-Sagar stretch of National Highway 69 came to standstill as a huge tree fell on the road near Joginagadde village. More than 100 electricity poles are down in Sagar, Hosanagar and Sorab taluks owing to heavy wind.
At the moment, the rain fury and flood situation is affecting nearly 10 districts across the state, with heavy rainfall reported in five coastal and Malnad districts, claiming three moe lives in rain-related incidents - one each in Shivamogga, Belagavi and Haveri districts.
Owing to flood and heavy rainfall, educational institutions in the districts of Dharwad, Haveri, Belagavi, Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada have been closed.
(With Agency inputs)