With No Respite in Sight, Maha CM Fadnavis Allows Workers to Report Late; Schools, Colleges Shut
Mumbai: Heavy rains in Mumbai and adjoining regions crippled normal life for the second consecutive day on Sunday, throwing train services off the tracks, disrupting air traffic and causing power outages in neighbouring Thane and Palghar districts.
At least four persons died in rain-related incidents in Mumbai, Pune and Palghar districts while a man is missing after he fell into a swollen nullah in Dharavi in Central Mumbai in afternoon.
While a 52-year-old woman and her 26-year-old son were killed after they suffered an electric shock when they touched the door of their water-logged house in suburban Santacruz, a 10-year-old boy died and his younger sister injured after a wall of their house collapsed in Lonavala in Pune district, police said.
In Palghar, a 16-year-old boy drowned after he was swept away in flood in Vikaramgadh taluka on Sunday morning, a district official said. In suburban Goregaon, four persons, including two children, were injured when boulders loosened by the wet soil fell on six vacant houses, police said, adding 50 residents of the area were shifted to safer places after the incident.
The day of wet spell witnessed at least two rescue operations by the Indian Air Force (IAF) with Mi 17 choppers. In the first operation, at least 58 people, including 16 children, stranded at Ju-Nandkhuri village in Khadavli area in Thane district were rescued from their water-logged homes.
However, another Mi 17 chopper had to abort the operation to rescue 15 people stranded in Buranda village in Palghar due to heavy rains and poor visibility, an IAF official said.
In Mumbai, at least 400 people from a residential area near the Mithi river were evacuated on Sunday after its water level crossed the danger mark following heavy rains, officials said.
As rains intensified and Met department forecast intermittent rain with heavy to very heavy showers in the city and suburbs and extremely heavy rain at isolated places in the next 24 hours, the state government has sought six more teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to tackle any eventuality.
In the last 24 hours, Mumbai received 100 mm rain while the suburbs, Thane and Navi Mumbai got more than 250mm downpour, IMD's deputy director KS Hosalikar said.
Rains also lashed Nashik, Pune, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts, where water-logging was witnessed in various localities and rivers in full spate.
Authorities have declared holiday for schools in Thane, Pune, Nashik and Raigad districts on Monday with the prediction of heavy rains, authorities said. Thane and Palghar districts and Navi Mumbai town have been witnessing incessant rains since the last two days and a number of incidents of tree fall were reported from these localities, an official said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also allowed employees of government and semi-government institutions to report late to work. The state government also appealed people to stay safe at home if it is not necessary to go out.
All Government and Semi Government employees in MMR Region are allowed to report late on their duties. Government also appeals people to stay safe at home if it is not necessary to go out. All emergency services to function as usual.#MumbaiRainsLiveUpdate— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) 4 August 2019
The chronic issue of water-logging of rail tracks returned to haunt Mumbai commuters who faced hardships on second consecutive day due to suspension of suburban services on the main line and harbour line on Karjat and Panvel sections.
Being a Sunday, most of the office-goers were spared of hardships caused by the suspension of local train services.
Due to the accumulation of water on tracks at a few sections, the Central Railway's services on the Main Line and Harbour Line between the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (in Mumbai) and Karjat, Kasaraand Khopoli were suspended since 8 am, its chief spokesman Sunil Udasi said.
"This has been done as a precautionary measure to avoid hardships to commuters later...the situation will be reviewed every hour," he said. However, the train services on Trans-Harbour Line and fourth corridor of Kharkopar were normal, he said.
Due to water-logging and crashing of boulders between Karjat (located in neighbouring Raigad district) and Lonavala hill town (in Pune district) in the Western Ghats section, several Mumbai-bound trains were terminated, diverted or cancelled, an official at the CR control room said.
The rail route from Pune to Mumbai was also closed, he added. Besides local trains, some long distance trains like Duranto, Konark Express, Amritsar Express and Devgiri Express were stuck near Igatpuri (in Nashik district), and Aatgaon and Khardi near Kalyan, another Central Railway official said.
On Saturday as well, the services on the main line and harbour line remained suspended for several hours due to heavy rains coupled with high tide and overflowing of Mithi river.
A Mumbai airport spokesperson on Sunday said two incoming flights were diverted and six had to make a go-around due to the heavy rains. Many long-distance trains were either cancelled or short-terminated.
Due to the downpour, the Mumbai-Goa national highway was shut for road traffic due to rise in the water levels of Jagbudi and Vashishti rivers in the Konkan region. In Palghar, heavy rains led to water levels rising over the tracks in some sections, leading to suspension of train services between Vasai and Virar towns in the morning hours, a Western Railway official said.
All Mail and Express trains were stopped on the Western line due to flooding on tracks near Nalasopara, he said. However, trains were moving on the Vasai-Churchgate and Virar-Dadar sections, he added.
The Thane district administration also asked residents of villages located on the banks of Barvi and Ulhas rivers to shift to safer places as there was flooding in those areas due to release of water from the Barvi dam.
Thousands of people in Thane and Palghar districts were affected on Sunday by power outage after sub-stations were submerged and transformers damaged due to heavy rains.
Authorities in Pune have issued an advisory asking people to be alert as the situation could turn "critical", and ordered schools and colleges to be shut on Monday. Seven members of a family stranded at a house in the water-logged Kamshet area were also rescued by a team of the NDRF, an official from the agency said.
With more water being released from the Khadakwasla dam, water gushed into several low-lying areas in Balewadi, Baner, Aundh, Yerwada, Sinhgad Road and Bopodi.
In Nashik district, heavy rains and release of water from Gangapur dam into the Godavari river caused a flood-like situation in some areas of the district.
In coastal Ratnagiri district, an SUV carrying six persons was swept away in a flooded river, police said. While five of them were rescued, one person is still missing.
Meanwhile, opposition parties hit out at the chief minister for being on a poll yatra even as the state continued to face the brunt of heavy rains. "If the government does not take immediate steps to provide respite, we along with citizens will take over the disaster control cell. People of Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Navi Mumbai, Raigad, Pen, Nashik, Sangli and Kolhapur are suffering due to rains and the state government is busy taking care of the CM's yatra," Congress campaign committee chief Nana Patole said.
(With inputs from PTI)