MUMBAI: Unrelenting downpour forced the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam authorities to throw open 26 of the 30 gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada on Friday.
Not taking any chances, the administration moved swiftly to have more than 21,000 people, in harm’s way, shifted to flood relief camps across Gujarat.
Several parts of the state have been experiencing heavy rainfall over the last couple of days and as many as 18 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and another 11 of the State Disaster Response Force have fanned out across the flood-affected areas to help marooned locals.
As many as 154 roads in Chhota Udepur and Tapi districts have been closed temporarily due to excessive waterlogging.
The State Emergency Operation Centre is in touch with all the districts and is keeping a close watch on the situation, government officials said. Faced with floodwaters gushing in from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam had to be opened for the first time since it was opened in 2017 in a bid to keep the water level at 131.18 metres.
Receiving word that the gates had been opened, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel reached the dam, located near Kevadiya in Narmada district, early morning.
“This is the first time that the storage at the dam touched 131.5 metres, forcing us to throw the gates open. The fact that we’re able to fill the dam up to this level shows our engineering prowess. We’re releasing excess water into the Narmada and the main canal,” Rupani told reporters in Kevadiya.
In Maharashtra, almost 2.4 lakh people from the flood-hit Kolhapur and Sangli districts were shifted to special camps on Friday. However, in some respite to the flood-battered state, there were reports of water receding in several places.
Voicing relief over the drop in water level at Panchganga river by 2 feet, Kolhapur Collector Daulat Desai said as many as 1,11,365 people from 23,889 families, across 239 villages in the district, have been shifted to relief camps.
In Sangli, 76 boats were used by the district administration to carry out relief operations, while 8,000 food packets were airdropped at various villages across the district on Friday, District Collector Abhijit Chaudhari said. As many as 1,34,363 people were shifted to temporary shelters, he said.
27 labourers from MP rescued in Akola district
The district administration of Akola in Maharashtra rescued 27 labourers from Madhya Pradesh stranded due to flash floods of Chandrika river following heavy rains on Friday. The labourers had gone to plant saplings near Deori village on Thursday morning.