Rain in Maharashtra: 90 killed, 70 missing

Updated on Jul 24, 2021 01:03 AM IST

With heavy rain wreaking havoc in the state, at least 90 people have died, 70 are missing and over 1,000 families were rescued amid floods and landslides in Konkan and western Maharashtra on Friday

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By, Mumbai

With heavy rain wreaking havoc in the state, at least 90 people have died, 70 are missing and over 1,000 families were rescued amid floods and landslides in Konkan and western Maharashtra on Friday.

Eleven cases of landslides were reported in the state on Thursday and Friday. Taliye, Sakhar Sutarwadi and Kevnale in Raigad, Posare in Ratnagiri, Ranjangaon in Sindhudurg and Ambeghar, Mirgaon, Humbarli and Dhokavale in Satara saw landslides.

Of the dead, 60 are from Raigad (49 in Taliye, 5 Sakhar Sutarwadi and 6 Kevnale), 3 in Posare and 2 in Parshuram Ghat in Ratnagiri, 8 in Satara, one in Ranjangaon in Sindhudurg. More than 16 people have died in rain-related incidents. Moreover, eight Covid-19 patients in Khed, Ratnagiri died owing to disruption of oxygen supply due to flooding. Four people were killed in a house collapse in Govandi. Of the 70 missing, 30 are from Raigad, 26 from Satara and 14 from Ratnagiri.

More than 85,000 people in districts in Konkan and western Maharashtra have been shifted to safer places. A total of 42,573 in Sangli, 40,882 in Kolhapur, 734 in Satara, 263 in Pune, over 1,000 in Raigad and 1,500 in Ratnagiri have been shifted to either shelters or to their relatives’ places.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to carry out an aerial survey of the flood-affected Chiplun and Khed on Saturday.

Rescue work continued in Chiplun, Mahad and other parts of Konkan that saw several areas submerged in floodwater. Floods and poor connectivity affected the work.

While Ratnagiri administration was struggling to deal with flooding in areas like Chiplun and Mahad as well as incidents of landslide, there were allegations that the toll increased due to the delay in beginning the rescue work.

The death toll in Taliye landslide reportedly increased as the district administration failed to reach to the village more than 18 hours after the incident happened around 5 pm on Thursday. The rescue team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) reached the spot on Friday afternoon. “We reached before any government official took note of the horrific incident. Had the rescue operation started in time, more lives could have been saved,” said leader of opposition in legislative council Pravin Darekar.

Padmashri Bainade, resident deputy collector, Raigad, however, said the rescue operation started early morning. “The area was submerged in 15-ft high water. We had deployed eight teams on Thursday night, but there were difficulties in reaching the spot. The teams waded through 4-ft water in morning and began the operation. The NDRF team which started from Pune yesterday afternoon was stuck midway because of a landslide and roads being washed away. The rescue operation will go on at night too, with the help of generators and floodlights.”

Makarand Deshmukh, deputy collector, Konkan Division, said the rescue operation of people trapped in the debris and stranded in floodwater was on in full swing in Raigad, Ratnagiri and other parts of Konkan. “We will begin the punchanamas to assess the losses,” he said.

NDRF team reached Mirgaon using boats and rescued 221 from the flooded areas. Minister of state for home Shambhuraj Desai said 15 people in Ambeghar and 12 in Mirgaon are feared trapped. “In Kondavale, a few families have been trapped under the debris. The rescue teams of the NDRF faced difficulties in reaching the spot because of the flooding on Friday morning,” he said.

More than 1,250 people were rescued in Chiplun in the past two days from more than 12-ft high water on Thursday. “Discharge of water from Koyana dam in Satara, high tide and heavy rainfall led to flooding on Thursday. Chiplun registered rain of more than 600 mm in 24hours until Friday morning. The water in almost all parts of Chiplun has receded, barring a few places below sea level. Rescue teams of Coast Guards, NDRF, Army, Indian Air Force and local NGOs were involved in operations,” said an official from district collectorate.

Many people in the Chiplun market were stranded on the roofs and terraces of their homes for more than 15 hours. Of the 18 companies of rescue personnel, with 45 personnel each, 14 have been deployed in nine districts, including Ratnagiri (4), Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Palghar (1 each), Raigad, Kolhapur, Thane (2 each). Two companies each of the SDRF have been deployed in Nagpur and Raigad. Rescue teams of Navy, Army, Coast Guard have also been deployed in Chiplun and Khed, the tehsils in Ratnagiri that has witnessed flooding. Two helicopters of Indian Airforce participated in the rescue operations in Chiplun, where hundreds of people were stuck on the roofs and terraces of their homes since Thursday morning.

The state has requested for more number of teams of the central agencies, including NDRF, Navy and Army for the rescue operation. Thackeray spoke with union home minister Amit Shah requesting him for assistance in rescue operation.

Thackeray reviewed the situation from the control room at Mantralaya on Friday morning. “Heavy rainfall is expected to continue for the next two to three days in parts of the state as predicted by the IMD. District administrations have been directed to take all steps to ensure safety of the people,” he said.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar spoke with defence minister Rajnath Singh and requested him for the assistance from Army, Navy and Air Force. “The defence forces have already been roped in the rescue operations, but the DCM has requested for more help in the wake of the prediction of heavy rainfall over next two days. The union minister has assured him with additional deployment for the districts which have reported downpour and landslides. To coordinate with the central government for the deployment of the central forces, Aseem Gupta, principal secretary of relief and rehabilitation department has been appointed as the nodal officer,” said a statement issued by the office of DCM.

Pawar has also directed guardian ministers of respective districts to stay put in the districts and oversee the relief and rehabilitation operations.

The flooding led to washing away of the bridges and roads in many districts. The state administration was forced to shut many state and national highways for vehicular traffic. Pune-Bengaluru,Mumbai-Goa, Ratnagiri-Kolhapur highways have been shut for traffic. Many travellers to neighbrouring Karnataka, Goa have been stranded on their way.

The milk supply to cities like Mumbai is expected to be affected on Saturday as collection of milk was badly hit in the flood-affected areas. “Against the daily collection of 1.3 million litres, we could collect only 250,000 litres of milk on Friday. Besides, transportation was not possible as many highways are shut. We have decided to discontinue the supply to Mumbai on Saturday,” said Vishwas Patil, chairman of Gokul milk.

Many villages in Raigad, Ratnagiri and Kolhapur were in the dark because of the disconnection of electricity owing to damage to the infrastructure. The discharge of the water from the Koyana dam in Satara was increased to more than 53,000 cusecs on Friday. The district administration has shifted villagers in the surrounding areas of Krishna, Werana rivers to safer places. The Karnataka government increase the discharge of water from Almatti river to over 300,000 cusecs on Friday.

The district administration has however warned people to be alert for the next 48 hours. “The water level of Panchganga has crossed its danger level and district may see similar flooding witnessed in 2019,” said Satej Patil, guardian minister of Kolhapur.

Thackeray announced an ex gratia of 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased in landslides in various parts of the state. Thackeray has also announced the government will bear the cost of treatment of people injured in the landslides.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex gratia of 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased in landslide from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. “Anguished by the loss of lives due to a landslide in Raigad, Maharashtra. My condolences to the bereaved families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery. The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected,” Modi said in a tweet.


    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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