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1.32 Lakh Shifted to Safer Places as Kolhapur and Sangli in Western Maharashtra Face Brunt of Flood

Sixteen deaths in rain- and flood-related incidents were reported from the western areas of the state in the last seven days, officials said.

PTI

Updated:August 8, 2019, 7:43 PM IST
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1.32 Lakh Shifted to Safer Places as Kolhapur and Sangli in Western Maharashtra Face Brunt of Flood
NDRF personnel transport residents to safer place in Sangli on Wednesday. (PTI)
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Pune: More than 1.32 lakh people have been shifted to safer places in Western Maharashtra, with the flood situation remaining especially grim in Kolhapur and Sangli districts on Wednesday following incessant rains.

Sixteen deaths in rain- and flood-related incidents were reported from western Maharashtra in the last seven days, officials said.

"In Pune region (comprising districts of Pune, Satara, Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur), so far 1.32 lakh people affected by floods have been evacuated to safer places," said Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar. In Sangli and Kolhapur districts, over 53,000 and 51,000 people, respectively, were evacuated, he said.

In Solapur district, 2,500 people were moved to safer places in the temple town of Pandharpur after the discharge of water from the overflowing Ujani dam increased, he added.

"Teams of Army, Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are conducting rescue operations in both the districts and six more NDRF teams will be airlifted to Kolhapur by Wednesday evening," he said. "All the dams in the region are overflowing and the Met department has predicted continuous rains for the next three to four days. So if the catchment areas of dams receive more rain, the possibility of more floods can not be ruled out."

In Pune district, over 1,300 people were shifted to safer places, he said. In Satara, the flood situation is grim in Mahabaleshwar, Wai and Karad and so far 6,000 people have been evacuated.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reviewed the flood situation at a meeting in Mumbai. The state so far has received 104% of the average rainfall between June and August this year though Marathwada and parts of Vidarbha are rain-deficient, he said. Konkan and Western Maharashtra have received very heavy rains and the flood situation in Kolhapur was critical, he added.

"From this statistics, we realise that Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Konkan region have received very heavy rainfall in recent days," he said.

Fadnavis, who took a break from his ongoing `Maha Janadesh Yatra' ahead of elections to review the flood situation, announced that compensation for flood-affected persons would be increased from Rs 2,500-5,000 to Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000.

For the loss incurred due to rains and floods after July 26 (when the present spell of heavy showers began), the compensation will be Rs 10,000 per family in rural areas and Rs 15,000 in urban areas. After July 26, if the home was flooded for more than two days, or house or household items were washed away, the family would get Rs 10,000 (instead of earlier Rs 5,000) in rural areas and Rs 15,000 in urban areas.

The Almatti dam in Karnataka, situated downstream on the Krishna river that flows through western Maharashtra, is full, and he has requested the chief minister of that state to increase discharge from the dam by 50,000 cusecs, said Fadnavis. Twenty-two teams of NDRF are involved in rescue operations in Kolhapur and elsewhere, he added.

"All guardian ministers of flood-hit districts are monitoring the situation," Fadnavis added.

At the review meeting held earlier in the day, Fadnavis directed officials to make adequate arrangements for food, drinking water and other essential items for flood-affected people in Kolhapur, Sangli, Raigad and Palghar districts, a statement from his office said. He also directed immediate survey of crop damage in the flood-affected areas.

In Kolhapur district, 204 out of total 1,234 villages have been affected due to the floods, resident deputy collector Sanjay Shinde said on Wednesday morning. "342 bridges have gone underwater and are closed for vehicles. Twenty-nine state highways and 56 roads have also been shut. Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway No 4 and the Kolhapur-Ratnagiri highway (part of Mumbai-Goa national

highway) are still closed," he said, adding that more than 45 boats have been deployed for evacuation operations.

Shinde's own office was not spared by rain fury. "My office has been completely flooded and several offices in the collectorate have been shifted elsewhere," he said.

Five teams of the Western Naval Command and four teams of divers from the naval base in Goa have been deployed for rescue operations in Kolhapur and other areas, a defence spokesperson said. The rescue teams were flown from INS Hansa Naval air station in Goa on Wednesday morning to Kolhapur, he said.

During the review meeting in Mumbai, Fadnavis asked the water resources department to share information on water discharge from dams and other projects with the railways regularly. He also asked officials to send medical teams in the affected districts and take special care of children in flood-hit areas.

In Kolhapur and Sangli, a holiday has been declared for schools and colleges on Wednesday.

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