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High alert in Maharashtra

Heavy rains in Marathwada and Vidarbha claim 70 lives and prompt authorities to evacuate 1 lakh people.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 12:55 IST

Heavy rains in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra for the last three days has claimed 70 lives and prompted authorities to evacuate over one lakh people from low-lying areas, and declare a high alert in many villages there, official sources said in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil is scheduled to visit the flood affected areas in the state on Wednesday, they said.

Over two lakh cusecs water has been released from the Jaikwadi dam in Aurangabad district for the last 36 hours, after the dam filled to over 90 per cent of its capacity, sources said.

This has prompted the government to declare a high alert in 178 villages in Jalna, Parbhani and Nanded district where the water would pass through, sources said.

All the 27 gates of the dam were opened on Monday to accommodate heavy water outflow, sources said. A meeting of the state cabinet has been convened in Mumbai on Tuesday to discuss the flood situation in the state where it is also expected to provide a relief package for the affected, sources said.

While the rain fury has subsided in several areas of the state, including Mumbai, the situation in Nanded district of Marathwada continues to be serious, with the Godavari river still flowing a metre above the danger level, they said.

Over four lakh cusecs of water is being released from the Vishnupuri project near Nanded, sources said.

Army, navy personnel and air force helicopters are assisting in rescue operations in marooned areas.

In Nanded, help of five navy divers have been sought to rescue drowned people, the sources said.