As monsoon hits state, Sangli residents brace for heavy rains
This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has added to the pre-existing fear of heavy rainfall and the ability of local administration to help those with limited to no means of survivalUpdated: Jun 29, 2020, 16:11 IST
The much-anticipated monsoon has arrived in Maharashtra, but for the residents and administration of the city of Sangli, it is a grim reminder of the deadly floods of 2019 that ravaged most parts of the district.
This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has added to the pre-existing fear of heavy rainfall and the ability of local administration to help those with limited to no means of survival.
Last year, 43,043 houses and 1.25 lakh people living in Sangli city were affected, according to Nitin Kapadnis, commissioner of Sangli, Miraj, Kupwad municipal corporations.
“We have made announcements through social media and local news channels, asking residents to evacuate when the water level crosses 25 feet as that is when it entered houses last year. We will install displays in every area, as a warning, if and when the water starts rising,” said Kapadnis.
People have either turned to their relatives in other villages or started booking rooms on rent in nearby areas like Vijaynagar, Kupwad, and Miraj.
“We do have temporary shelters planned in government schools and if need be, local wedding halls will also be roped in. But even so, with social distancing norms in place, we can accommodate around 15,000 people,” said Kapadnis.
The residents in low-lying areas are bracing themselves for a possible impact of monsoon and are aware of the water-level at which they need to start moving. However, the fear of the virus is adding to their anxiety.
“We received the notice a couple of weeks ago. The corporation officials had come here to serve the notice. Because of the last year’s experience, it is being used as a preventive measure - emptying houses when the water level hits 20 feet. One of them warned of police action if houses are not empty if and when the water hits 20 feet. The water came to our colony after the Irwin bridge mark crossed 40 feet. And they are asking us to leave at half the mark,” said Dattatray Shinde, a man in 40s, who is into cattle and dairy business. He lives in the Magarmach colony. The colony residents lived the flood days in 2019 in a nearby Ganpati temple last year when floods ravaged the city.
“Most of the houses were 15 feet deep under water last year,” he recalls.
“Our house is located at a height and the canal water level is clearly visible from here. The corporation officials who came to serve notices installed a camera and a sensor at our house. The water entered our house when it reached 45 feet. They have asked us to leave at 20 feet. They said they will provide for those who have no means at all. We are scared of the virus too,” said Imran Hajilala Mujawar, a resident of Suryavanshi plot, Jamwadi. Mujawar owns a grocery store in the area.
“They gave us notice that our houses need to be emptied when the water reaches 20 feet. He told us to get a room or go to our relatives’ places. Everybody is scrambling to find accommodation. The lockdown has cut everyone’s income and the virus is a problem too. What if we go somewhere and the people there are coronavirus positive?” said Shaila Devphule, a resident of Suryavanshi plot who is a housewife with a family of five including two children.