Mumbai-Bengaluru highway shut for 3rd day in a row; 3,000 of vehicles stranded near Kolhapur

Published on Jul 25, 2021 11:30 PM IST

PUNE Even as the water level of the Panchaganga river dropped by two feet on Sunday, the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway remained shut for a third consecutive day for traffic

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ByHTC

PUNE Even as the water level of the Panchaganga river dropped by two feet on Sunday, the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway remained shut for a third consecutive day for traffic. A 500-metre stretch near Shiroli in Kolhapur was still inundated. Police officials said that at least 2,000 trucks and 1,000 private vehicles are stranded on both sides of the road: from Satara to Kolhapur and from Belgavi to Kolhapur.

Many have sought shelter in hotels nearby, while private organisations, including some NGOs, have been helping drivers and travellers with food and other necessary items.

“We are here since Friday and there’s no sign of when the water will recede and traffic will resume,” said Sriprakash Singh, carrying steel frames in his truck to Bengaluru.

The highway was inundated on Friday after the Panchaganga river swelled, following heavy rain in the area, bringing back memories of the 2019 floods, when the entire district was badly hit and highway were shut for two days. However, as per locals and the police, this is the first time the highway has been shut for three days in a row.

By Sunday evening, dam authorities started releasing water, increasing the possibility of the Panchaganga swelling again.

According to Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Shailesh Balkawade, the highway may open by Monday if the situation improves. “Currently the highway is closed for traffic moving from Satara towards Belgavi. Those who want to reach Bengaluru for urgent work may opt for an alternate route via Solapur. However, it’s much longer,” said Balkawade.

In Kolhapur, the rainfall activity ebbed and the water level of the Panchganga river at Rajaram weir came down to 52 feet, but it was still flowing above the danger mark of 43 feet, as per the district disaster cell.

District guardian minister Satej Patil on Saturday said 74,000 people were shifted to safer places from the flood-hit regions. Six teams of the NDRF and a column of the Army were carrying out rescue operations in the flood-hit areas. In neighbouring Sangli district, the Krishna river at Irwin bridge was flowing at 54.5 feet, as against the danger mark of 45 feet, according to the local administration.

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