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Maharashtra Dy CM Tours Flood-hit Villages in Sangli; Says Decision on Relief in 2 Days

NDRF personnel rescue people stranded in floodwaters in Kolhapur in Maharashtra. (AP Photo)

NDRF personnel rescue people stranded in floodwaters in Kolhapur in Maharashtra. (AP Photo)

He interacted with the flood-affected people and assured them of rehabilitation and help from the state government.

A decision on providing relief to the people affected by floods in Maharashtra will be taken in the next couple of days, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said on Monday after he toured various rain-hit villages in Sangli district and used a rescue boat to reach out to flood victims in some areas. He interacted with the flood-affected people and assured them of rehabilitation and help from the state government.

“Maha Vikas Aghadi government will provide all possible help to those who have been affected by floods. I, cabinet ministers Jayant Patil, Vijay Wadettiwar, and minister of state Vishwajeet Kadam visited the flood-affected areas in the Sangli district and took stock of the situation. In the next two days, a final decision about (the relief) will be taken in the presence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray," Pawar, who also holds the Finance portfolio, told a press conference. State Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar and Minister of State Vishwajeet Kadam accompanied Pawar during his visit to the flood-battered Bhilwadi and other areas of the district.

They used a boat to reach out to people affected by the monsoon mayhem in Bhilwadi. Pawar later told reporters that “unprecedented" rains triggered floods in districts in the Western Maharashtra region.

“When heavy rains started after July 22, there was enough storage capacity in dams in the Krishna river basin but heavy downpour in the pre-catchment areas of dams caused floods downstream," he said. Pawar described the pre-catchment area of the dam as the area ahead of the dam’s wall. He added that since its construction, the Koyna dam never received such a huge influx of water.

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“Around 16.5 TMC water was received in one day in the Koyna dam which has the storage capacity of 100 TMC. There is a place near Koyna called Navja, where 32-inch rainfall was witnessed," he said. The deputy CM said the collective water storage in dams in the Krishna basin is 84 per cent this time compared to the 50 per cent storage in the corresponding period last year.

“As far as the water storage in the dams in the basins of the Krishna and Bhima rivers is concerned, the current collective water storage is 71 per cent against 37 per cent last year," he said. Pawar said the work to assess losses caused due to floods is still not completed.

“Real picture about the damage caused to crops and farms will emerge after the water recedes. I have instructed the district administration to continue with the assessment of losses at new places," he added. Speaking about landslides, Pawar said such incidents were reported from the areas that were not prone to landslips.

Responding to a query, Pawar said there was good coordination between the Centre and the Maharashtra government in managing the flood situation. “To avoid flooding in future, emphasis will be given on strengthening the flood management system. I have received some suggestions to have SDRF centres in flood-prone districts so that when such a situation arises, these groups can be pressed into action instead of waiting for help from agencies like the NDRF, Army, Coast Guard, and Navy," he said. When asked about whether the current flood situation in western Maharashtra is a “man-made" crisis, Pawar dismissed such contention saying “unprecedented" rainfall in “pre-catchment" areas of dams was responsible.

“The green cover has not reduced in the areas where the landslide and flooding have taken place. It is being talked about that due to the high tree cutting activities, the incidents of landslides are taking place but there is no truth. The green cover has not been reduced. In Satara, uprooted trees, mud and sludge came down during landslides," he said.

Pawar reiterated that the state government was willing to rehabilitate people who often get affected by floods in hilly areas. He asked the district administration to conduct a survey of such houses and also check the land availability for rehabilitation. Pawar also said the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka are well coordinating over the release of water from the Almatti dam.

He said that “VVIP tours" will now start in the flood and landslide affected areas and directed respective district administrations to appoint “nodal officers" for coordinating such tours so that district collectors, SPs, CEOs of ZPs can focus on the main work to manage the situation once floods recede. Earlier in the day, the Krishna river was flowing at 52.11 feet at the Irwin bride in Sangli at 11 am, as against the danger mark of 45 feet, an official said. The state government on Sunday said it provided an emergency financial aid of Rs 2 crore each to Raigad and Ratnagiri districts. Satara, Sangli, Pune, Kolhapur, Thane and Sindhudurg, also affected by rains, were provided with a financial aid of Rs 50 lakh each.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday visited Chiplun, the site of severe flooding in Ratnagiri district in the Konkan region, and interacted with residents, businessmen and shopkeepers. He promised them all help from the state government to restore normalcy in the area. Thackeray had said they will require “central assistance for long-term mitigation measures" and comprehensive data of the extent of damages will be prepared.

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first published:July 26, 2021, 20:42 IST