INDIA. Mumbai: Several districts of Maharashtra, including neighbouring Thane district, were inundated, with over a dozen rivers in spate, causing heavy flooding and paralyzing normal life, as torrential rains battered the state on Thursday.
In Birwadi in Mahad in Raigad district, 30 houses were damaged and over 70 people were feared trapped under the debris. The authorities have rushed to the spot for rescue operations. Similarly, a retaining wall collapsed in Sadure Gavdhanwadi in Vaibhavwadi taluka of Sindhudurg district. No casualties were reported.
Incessant downpour badly hit road and rail traffic in several parts of the state, as authorities called in National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to help the administration in rescue efforts. Nearly 15 teams of the NDRF were deployed in different districts including Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Pune, Kolhapur, and Sangli. The Panchganga river in Kolhapur was flowing above the danger mark causing heavy flooding in Sangli, Satara, and adjoining areas. Five teams of the Indian Navy will be reaching Chiplun in Ratnagiri on Friday, a Defence spokesman Commander Mehul Karnik stated.
Due to the overflowing of Rankala Lake in Kolhapur, parts of the Kolhapur city were submerged. The Khadakwasla dam (Pune) was over flowing, while the Koyana dam (Satara) received more than 80 TMC water, due to which the people residing in the vicinity were evacuated.
The 700 villages in Bhiwandi taluka of Thane district lost contact, since the roads were submered. Similarly many areas of neighbouring Kalyan, including Shahad, Yogi Dham, Bhavani Nagar, Bhavani Nagar, and Anupam Nagar, were flooded due to the rise in the water level of the Waldhuni River. Nearly 150 families were evacuated to a safer place in Kalyan.
The Badlapur (Thane) and Karjat( Raigad district) were submerged in water since the Ulhas River breached the danger mark. The residents’ woes were augmented further when even the water supply was stopped and electricity was disconnected. According to sources, the power supply was disconnected to avoid incidents of electrocution, which also led to the disconnection of the water supply. Resultantly the residents had to spend the day and night without power as well as water.
Unauthorised constructions in the river
The Ulhas River was flooded, mainly due to the rampant rise in unauthorized constructions in the river, a social worker and journalist Unmesh Gujarathi told The “Transcontinental Times”. The unauthorized constructions include not only the shanties but even the cement concrete buildings constructed after reclaiming the land throwing all norms to the wind, he added.
Due to a landslide in Kasara Ghat, near Nashik, the vehicular and rail traffic between Mumbai and Nashik came to a standstill. Similar landslides were reported from Lonawala in Pune district and Talai Village in Mahad taluka in Raigad district.
In Sindhudurg district, the Malhar Bridge collapsed throwing the traffic out of gear. The Akola and Amravati districts (especially the Melghat area) in the Vidarbha region also witnessed heavy rains and the affected the normal life.
Major rivers above the danger mark
Major rivers in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts in the Konkan region are flowing above the danger mark as a result of incessant rains, and the government machinery is in the process of shifting several affected people to safer places.
Most of the rivers in Ratnagiri district, including Jagbudi, Vashishti, Kodavali, Shastri, Shiv, Bav are flowing above the danger level. As a result, Khed, Chiplun, Lanja, Rajapur, Sangameshwar towns and nearby areas have been affected and residents are being shifted to safer places, the CMO said.
Similarly, in the neighbouring Raigad district, rivers including Kundalika, Amba, Savitri, Patalganga, Gadhi, Ulhas rivers are flowing above danger level, the CMO said in a statement. The other rivers which are in spate include: Waldhuni (Thane), Panchganga (Kolhapur) and Krishna (Satara). The Ratnagiri district witnessed record break rainfall -1426.4 mm rainfall in the last 10 days.
The local suburban train services beyond Ambernath on the Central Railway continued to be affected. Due to the water level rising above 3 feet to 4 feet, the tracks at Badlapur were submerged. As for long-distance trains, over 5,500 passengers were stranded in the Konkan Railway (KR) trains.
The trains were regulated at various stations on the 756-km–long KR route, which is spread across three states – Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka – and passes through tough terrain. Nine trains were regulated on the KR, due to the flood situation at Chiplun (Ratnagiri), meaning they were rerouted, short-terminated, or cancelled. KR spokesperson Girish Karandikar said and added that stranded trains were at safe locations on different stations and the passengers in them were also safe and they were being provided food and water.
Out of these, the Dadar-Sawantwadi special train was regulated at Chiplun station and the CSMT-Madgaon Janshatabdi special train at Khed station. Train services of the Central Railway in the Kasara Ghat section and near Lonavala hill town in Pune district adjoining Mumbai were also severely affected after heavy rains caused flooding, washing out of tracks, boulder crashes, and mudslides in that region. The traffic of long-distance trains would take some time to resume and buses have been arranged to ferry the stranded passengers, a CR spokesman added.
PM Modi speaks to Maharashtra CM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday about the situation in some parts of the state following heavy rainfall and flooding and assured him of all possible support from the Centre. “Spoke to Maharashtra CM Shri Uddhav Thackeray and discussed the situation in parts of Maharashtra in the wake of heavy rainfall and flooding. Assured all possible support from the Centre to mitigate the situation. Praying for everyone’s safety and well-being. @OfficeofUT,” Modi said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took a review of the situation arising out of the continuous downpour in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts, the two coastal districts.
During the meeting, Thackeray said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an alert of heavy rainfall in the coastal region for the next three days. He asked the authorities to remain alert and keep monitoring the levels of overflowing rivers and evacuate residents to safer places.