MUMBAI: AT least 14 people drowned and another 16 were feared missing after a rescue boat capsized in flood-hit Sangli district of Maharashtra, about 320 km from Mumbai, on Thursday.
The boat was ferrying around 32 people. It overturned and capsized when its propellers hit a tree in the flood waters. While disaster relief teams were able to save six people, 14 bodies were retrieved and another 16 were feared missing,” District Collector Dr Abhijit Chaudhari said.
The villagers, who were trying shift to a safe place, were from Brahmanal in Pulus block of Sangli district. Krishna and Yerla rivers converge near the village. The village had been inundated with flood water over the last three days as both rivers were in spate, local sources said.
As the flood situation continued to remain grim, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday surveyed and reviewed the prevailing flood situation on the day and announced a compensation of `5 lakh for all affected families.
However, with flood, politics, too, was in spate as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar demanded complete loan waiver for flood-affected farmers in Kolhapur, Sangli and other districts of western Maharashtra.
“Floods have destroyed agriculture in the area. Sugarcane and other fields are all under water. Cattle and livestock, too, have been swept away by the on-rushing waters. Several businesses have also taken a huge hit due to the prevailing situation. The government should immediately arrange for damage assessment after the water recedes and waive 100% loans of all farmers,” Pawar told the reporters in Pune a few minutes after the CM addressed the media at Kolhapur after visiting the flood-affected areas of the district.
“I’ve spoken to Karnataka CM Yediyurappa and the state has increased the water discharged from Almatti dam to 5 lakh cusecs. Hopefully, this will help the flood waters recede quickly,” Fadnavis said.
Across the state, the flood situation continued to remain grim, as Gadchiroli continued to receive incessant rains. In neighbouring Goa, too, the situation was grave. The coastal Maharashtra districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg continued to remain marooned.