Rain hammers Maharashtra, floods Konkan and MMR
Heavy rain wreaked havoc throughout the state, causing several rivers to overflow and consequently inundate several areas in coastal Konkan, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), western Maharashtra and Vidarbha on Thursday. With hundreds of people feared trapped in various flood-hit areas, authorities have deployed 17 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams in Chiplun, Khed in Ratnagiri; Kolhapur; Sangli and Satara. At least eight people have been killed in rain-related incidents (landslide, wall collapse) in Palghar, Raigad and Ratnagiri, officials said. Chiplun and Khed were the worst hit as water from the Vashishti River and Koyna dam submerged several areas.
The incessant downpour and poor mobile phone connectivity hampered rescue efforts. The state deployed 15 boats of the Indian Coast Guard and the police to evacuate residents stranded in their houses in Chiplun and Khed. Two rescue teams deployed from Pune could only reach late in the evening because of a landslide on the way. Two more teams of NDRF were expected to reach Chiplun and Khed by midnight. Over 700 people have been evacuated in the past two days, including 400 from Raigad and 250 from Ratnagiri.
“We have deployed 17 NDRF teams in various districts, including Ratnagiri, Sindudurg, Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara, and have kept one ready for districts in Vidarbha. The NDRF teams reached Chiplun late because of landslides. Seven villages in and around Chiplun town have been submerged, while people are stranded on the roofs and terraces of their homes. The Indian Navy, too, has been requested for rescue operations in Chiplun and Khed,” said an official from the relief and rehabilitation department of the state.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held a review meeting to take stock of the downpour. He directed the state administration to mobilise help from state and central agencies towards rescue operations and minimise losses.
According to information available, many rivers including Vashishti, Jagbudi, Bavanadi in Ratnagiri had crossed their danger level, which led to floods in parts of the district. A cloudburst in Mahabaleshwar on Wednesday resulted in heavy rainfall of 480mm in 24 hours, leading to a swelling in the water levels of Savitri, Kaal and other rivers in the Konkan belt, which are at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range. Similarly, the water level of Panchaganga in Kolhapur and Krishna in Sangli are nearing their danger level. The discharge of water from Almatty dam in Karanataka resulted in the rise in water level in Sangli.
“The Koyna dam in Satara was full at 62% in the afternoon. We will have to discharge water from the dam if it reaches 80% by taking due precautions of shifting of people,” said Aseem Gupta, principal secretary, relief and rehabilitation department.
“Karjat and Mahad in Raigad districts and Kalyan and Bhiwandi in Thane district, too, witnessed heavy rainfall. We have deployed NDRF companies in Mumbai and other parts of the state for quick rescue operations,” said relief and rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar.
Many national and state highways, including Goa-Mumbai, were shut in areas where roads and bridges were submerged. “Many rivers including Panchganga, Dudhganga, Warana, Hiranykeshi have already reached their warning level and are expected to cross their danger mark on Friday as per the prediction by the IMD. We have directed the district administrations to take all measures to ensure safety of the people,” said Satej Patil, minister of state for home and guardian minister of Kolhapur.
Three people in Palghar district, three in Ratnagiri and two in Raigad have reportedley died in rain related incidents. District roads in Kolhapur have been closed as the rainwater has submerged stretches. In several rural areas of Kolhapur, the bridges have gone underwater, due to which, the traffic movement has been shut. The road near Jadhavwadi Nile in Shahuwadi tehsil and the Kolhapur- Ratnagiri road were closed as water came on to the road, the official said. As the bund at Khochi Dudhgaon got submerged, the traffic towards Sangli district from that route was diverted.
In Raigad, 400 people from more than 100 families in Karjat, Mahad and Khalapur tehsils have been shifted to safer places. Kundalika and Savitri rivers in the districts have crossed the danger mark of water level, officials said.
In MMR, governed by nine municipal corporations including Mumbai and Thane, the incessant rain over the past couple of days has resulted in waterlogging and disruption in local train operations. Of the seven lakes that supply drinking water to Mumbai, two — Modak Sagar (started overflowing early morning on Thursday) and Tansa — are almost full. Two other lakes, Tulsi and Vehar, had started overflowing last week. The rainfall in the last two days in the catchment areas of the lakes has resulted in the rise in the stock that will last for 64 days. This has resulted in scrapping potential water cuts for the city.
The heavy rainfall in MMR has disrupted local train operations on the Central and Harbour lines. Train services on the Konkan railway, too, have witnessed disruption owing to the waterlogging on the tracks in Ratnagiri. “Eight trains have been regulated due to disruption on the route,” Konkan Railway has stated. Water level of the Vashishti river between Chiplun and Kamathe stations in Ratnagiri has gone above the danger level early g on Thursday.
With moderate to heavy rainfall across the state over last few days, the water stock level in reservoirs has increased to 34.28%. State has received 57.3% of the season’s — from June to September — rainfall with 574.7mm rainfall, against the season’s average of 1,004.2 mm. The state has received more than 88mm rainfall in the past 60 hours, according to the state government’s website.
A landslide has been reported at Talai village of Mahad Taluka in Raigad district. However, Raigad collector Nidhi Choudhary said officers who have gone to the spot are not reachable and hence the number of houses damaged or if there are any casualties could not be confirmed at the time of going to press.
Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force have reached Ratnagiri airport and will start rescue operations from Friday morning. Six teams of the Coast Guard and a few from the Indian army will join rescue operations from Friday morning. The state has requested the Centre for at least seven more teams, expected to be deployed from other states.
Forty people have died in rain related incidents since July 16 in 7 districts of Konkan. Highest, 30, are from Mumbai suburban, including the deaths reported due to the landslides on Sunday.
Prime minister Narendra Modi spoke to Thackeray and assured central help. 30 lakh cusecs of water was released from Almatti river on Friday evening. With rise in water level in Koyana dam, the state is planning to release 10,000 cusecs of water on Friday. The district administration has been directed to take due precautions for the shifting of people from the villages.