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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Rebuilding life in Kolhapur post floods

cities Updated: Aug 14, 2019 19:16 IST
Sapna Oswal
Sapna Oswal

KOLHAPUR Residents of Kolhapur heaved a sigh of relief will Panchganga river flowing below the danger mark. The river touched 42.11 feet, one foot below the danger mark, on Wednesday. While the danger level is 43 feet, warning level is 39 feet.

As the floodwaters receded, residents of Shirol taluka, one of the worst-affected areas in Kolhapur district, resumed their daily routines as relief operations are underway.

Sanjay Asawale, deputy collector from Pune, who is posted in Shirol takula, said, “At least 40,500 families of 93 villages in Shirol taluka have been affected by the floods. As the water is receding, our focus is now on sanitation and taking precautions of waterborne diseases. We need volunteers to work for the cause as it is a collective effort to rebuild the city and villages.”

Vikas Puri, public relations officer, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), said, “With water receding in many flood-affected areas, power supply has been resumed in almost all city areas. Electricity supplies to many remote hamlets and villages have been restored with the help of additional manpower.”

Residents returning from relief camps are facing the task of cleaning their homes covered with mud and heaps of debris. Disposal of e-waste is also a challenge as it could contribute to the possibility of outbreak of an epidemic in the, densely populated district. Shops reopened and petrol pumps resumed sale of fuel. After almost 10 days, vehicles were seen plying on the streets. People with homes and businesses in the Venus Corner area, Gangavish, Shahupuri area, Nagala park, Mahavir college, New Palace and other flood-hit places were seen assessing the damage the flood had caused.

Ashish Chandwani, a volunteer for flood relief and a trader, said that most people are still in a state of shock because of what they had to endure over the past few days. “The residents are yet to come to terms with the damage. With power and petrol supplies resumed, we hope everything will be back on track soon. It was an unprecedented event. I wonder how much time it will take us to recover from the losses,” he said.

“When the floodwaters covered the steps of our house, we immediately shifted to our relatives’ place without carrying any belongings with us,” said Sameer Maner, a resident of Kolhapur.

“The waters had risen to at least six-seven feet inside our bungalow and household items were floating. All our important documents got submerged and is now of no use. We had to call in professionals to help clean the mess. It’s going to take a few days to put the house in order and carry out routine activities. I can’t imagine the state of those who have lost their homes,” Maner said.

Many youth, local organisations and volunteers have come forward to help in cleaning activities.

Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) has deployed 400 employees for cleaning activities across the city. As a result, 40 dumpers of waste was cleared by Tuesday. The cleanliness drive started from Gangavesh, Dudhali, Siddharthnagar, Mahavir Garden, Jain Math, Ramanmala and New Palace areas. The health department ensured adequate stock of medicines was provided to shelter homes run by KMC and those operated by private organisations and individuals. Medical supplies, such as disinfectants and masks, were donated in many areas by independent volunteers.

Mallinath Kalshetty, Kolhapur municipal commissioner, took part in the cleanliness drive started on Tuesday. Kalshetty said, “I started a cleanliness campaign at the biggest nullah in the city at Jayantinullah. We are able to dispose 1,000 tonnes of garbage since the campaign started. Many organisations have come forward to join the cleanliness drive.”

The commissioner said that steps are taken to clean the mess and keep the environment disease-free. “Apart from local support, we have also asked the Mumbai municipal corporation for machinery like jet spray and other equipment for the cleanliness drive,” he said.

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 19:16 IST

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