Maharashtra floods: Highways in Sangli and Kolhapur opened

As many as 4.74 lakh people from 95,206 families in five districts of western Maharashtra are living in 596 temporary shelters, while the district administration has geared up for rehabilitation of people from flood-affected areas.
As the water started to recede in Kolhapur and Sangli on Monday, the district administration opened national and state highways for vehicular traffic.
As the water started to recede in Kolhapur and Sangli on Monday, the district administration opened national and state highways for vehicular traffic.
Updated on Aug 13, 2019 01:39 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | BySurendra Gangan

As the water started to recede in Kolhapur and Sangli on Monday, the district administration opened national and state highways for vehicular traffic.

As many as 4.74 lakh people from 95,206 families in five districts of western Maharashtra are living in 596 temporary shelters, while the district administration has geared up for rehabilitation of people from flood-affected areas. The death toll in five flood-affected districts has reached 43, while three persons are still missing. The death toll in Sangli has reached 21, including the 17 killed in boat capsize in Brahmanal last Friday, while Kolhapur, Satara and Pune have registered seven deaths each. One person from Solapur, too, died in the floods. Forty-six villages in nine tehsils in Kolhapur, Sangli, Solapur and Satara are affected due to the floods.

Chief secretary Ajoy Mehta held a series of meetings with various department heads to take stock of the relief and rehabilitation measures taken in Kolhapur and Sangli. The state is expected to demand a relief package of 3,000 crore from the Central government towards loss of agriculture crops and livestock, infrastructure of the school and power supply. The memorandum to be sent to the centre will come before the cabinet for its nod on Tuesday.

Opening up of highways helped the administration ensure smooth supply of essential commodities and loading of ATMs with the money. Eight state and five district highways in Sangli and Kolhapur respectively, were opened on Monday. After allowing heavy vehicles to pass on the Pune-Bengaluru National Highway, private vehicles will also be allowed on it on Tuesday.

Rise in the release of the water from Almatti dam in Karnataka to 5.70 lakh cusecs on Monday gave further relief to the districts, although the inflow of more than 6.11 lakh cusecs in the dam is still a cause for concern for the administration. “It is largely because of the high discharge from Koyana dam in Satara. The discharge from Koyana is 53,882 cusecs against the inflow of 44,357 cusecs,” said an official from the water resources department.

Water level dropped from 1ft to 4.5ft at major flooding spots in Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara, although at most of the places, it is above danger level. Like at Irwin Bridge in Sangli it is 50.01ft against the danger level of 45ft, and at Ankali bridge in Sangli at 54.9ft against the danger level of 50.3 ft.

Although 54 and 51 teams comprising 501 and 569 jawans from the NDRF as well as Navy, Army, Coast Guards were in operation in Kolhapur and Sangli, respectively until Monday morning, some of them have started to leave after the evacuation was completed in some of villages.

“Our focus will now be on health and sanitation services, water supply and restoration of electric supply. Of the 3.30 lakh power connections affected, we have restored 1.73 lakh connections. Of the ex-gratia, the first installment of 5000 will be distributed in cash from tomorrow. We have asked the banks to verify the identity using the Aadhaar numbers, if other identity documents are lost in floods,” said Deepak Mhaisekar, divisional commissioner, Pune.

Around 313 ATMs have been loaded with cash of 25 crore, while bank administrations have been directed to repair the remaining 334 ATMs. The district administration has started preparing kits of essential goods including food grain to last for a week. Members from the affected families in Sangli and Kolhapur are being treated for free, while Gokul, a cooperative dairy brand, is distributing milk pouches for free.

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