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Unprecedented flooding as rains lash Maharashtra, affect train services

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held an emergency meeting on Thursday morning to review the situation.

Published: 23rd July 2021 03:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2021 09:06 AM   |  A+A-

People make their way through a waterlogged street after heavy rainfall in Mumbai. (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: Heavy rains have lashed Mumbai and parts of western Maharashtra since Wednesday night, causing floods in several low-lying areas. 

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held an emergency meeting on Thursday morning to review the situation.

He has asked local authorities to swiftly rescue those trapped inside their houses due to heavy flooding.

“People who are trapped should be shifted to safer locations. Besides, all possible help should be extended to them,” Thackeray said.

Shiv Sena MP from Konkan Vinayak Raut said the region witnessed unprecedented flooding.

“We have never seen such levels of flooding. There are more than 5 ft of water on the roads. The damage to property is huge. Maharashtra government is extending all possible help to those who are trapped and all those affected,” Raut said.

Vijay Wadettiwar, Cabinet Minister Relief and Rehabilitation  rushed to the affected areas. “The situation was grim. However, it is under control now. All local authorities are on high alert. The police, coast guard, fire brigade and the local residents are helping to rescue the people who are trapped. The water has started receding. Once the situation is normal, the extend of damage will be assessed,” the minister said.

The downpour has led to multiple incidents of boulder fall, track washout, mudslide and water logging on Titwala-Igatpuri and Ambernath-Lonavala sections.

The services between Titwala and Igatpuri were restored from Thursday afternoon.

Those in the Badlapur-Lonavala and Karjat-Khopoli sections remained suspended after 18 hours as the track between Badlapur and Karjat was not fully restored, the Central Railways said.

Two persons were missing after landslide took place in the Wai tehsil of Western Maharashtra's Satara district on Thursday evening, an official said.

The incident took place at Devrookhwadi, a remote area of the tehsil, said district collector Shekhar Singh.

"Twenty-seven people from five affected houses were rescued but two persons are still missing," he told PTI.

"We had to halt the rescue operations due to incessant rains and the possibility of further landslide at the same site. The operation will commence tomorrow morning," he said.

Meanwhile, incessant showers in the hilly regions of Ratnagiri district, illegal constructions near the Vashisthi river bed and discharge of water from the Kolkewadi dam have all combined to cause havoc in the coastal town of Chiplun, officials said on Thursday as the administration sought help from multiple agencies in rescue efforts.

More than 50 per cent area of Chiplun, located around 250km from Mumbai and having a population of over 70,000, has got submerged in flood waters.

B N Patil, district collector of Ratnagiri who assumed charge of his office just a fortnight back, has now called several teams of the NDRF, Coast Guard, the Navy and the Army to undertake rescue operations.

"I have requested for six additional teams of the NDRF apart from earlier two. The Coast Guard is already helping here, while the Indian Navy is sending its teams here tomorrow morning. I have also requested the Indian Army to deploy its columns to undertake rescue operations," he told PTI.

"There has been some illegal constructions near the river bed, which have added to our misery. The dam water (from Kolakewadi), extremely heavy rainfall and illegal constructions in the river bed - all have contributed to the current situation. It is partially a man-made disaster," he said.

"Once flood waters recede, I will look into the issue of illegal constructions near the river bed," Patil said.

He said more than 200 people have been rescued from flood-hit areas.

"Late in the night, NDRF teams started rescue operations and more than 200 people were rescued by them. We have also started distributing food packets to people who have moved to second or third floors of multi- storey buildings," Patil said.

The Mumbai-based Western Naval Command confirmed receiving a request from the Maharashtra government to send rescue teams.

"Five teams will reach Chiplun on Friday morning. Each team will have approximately five persons and one boat, which will be able to rescue 5-7 adults at a time. If required, we will send more teams," said an Indian Navy spokesperson.

K S Hosalikar, senior scientist at IMD, Pune, said, "Latest radar images indicate very intense clouds over parts of the Raigad-Roha, Satara-Mahabaleshwar regions as well as over parts of Ratnagiri and Dapoli."

A landslide took place at Talai village in the coastal Raigad district of Maharashtra on Thursday evening as the Konkan region was pounded by rains, a senior official said.

While local police have rescued two persons so far, reaching the village from outside is very difficult due to the floods, said district collector Nidhi Chaudhary.

The roads leading to the village are either under water or blocked by landslides on the route, she added.

The village is located in Mahad tehsil of the district, but as the Savitri river is flowing at its danger level, the road connection with the village has been cut off.

"There is also another landslide on the road, hence no rescue team of police or NDRF could reach there," the collector told a news channel.

Even the local police stations are inundated or submerged, the collector added.

Teams of the Army and Navy are assisting rescue operations in the flood-hit Raigad and Ratnagiri districts of the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra, the state government said on Thursday evening.

An Air Force helicopter too has been made available for rescue operations in Ratnagiri district, said a statement from the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's office.

The chief minister was in constant touch with the local authorities, it said.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Coast Guard, Navy and Army have been deployed in the region and the State Disaster Management Authority has begun rescue and relief operations, it said.

NDRF teams have been sent to western Maharashtra's Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts too, the CMO added.

Two teams of the force have been deployed in Shirol and Karvir tehsils of Kolhapur, it informed.

Two persons were swept away by strong currents of water in separate incidents that occurred in Maharashtra's Wardha district following heavy rains on Thursday, officials said.

A woman got swept away in Waghadi river in Samudrapur tehsil, while a man going on a bullock cart got swept away in a swollen nullah at Tas village in the same tehsil, they said.

The woman has been identified as Ramabai Namdev Meshram, while the man has been Santosh Pandhari Shambharkar, the officials said, adding that the district administration has launched a search operation for them.

The district has been receiving heavy showers since over 40 hours.

As a result, 20 villages in Samudrapur tehsil have got marooned since Thursday morning.

In another incident at occurred at Pipari village, one person who was crossing a swollen nullah, got swept away, but was rescued by the local residents, the officials said.

Osmanabad district of Maharashtra, located in the drought-prone Marathwada region, has already received 55.68 per cent of its annual rainfall quota, officials said on Thursday.

According to the district administration officials, Osmanabad has so far (till July 22) received 335.80 mm rainfall, which is 55.68 per cent of its average annual rainfall of 603.10 mm.

The tehsil-wise break-up of the rainfall recorded so far is: Osmanabad 318.6 mm, Tuljapur 368.6, Paranda 335.4, Bhoom 377.1, Kallam 308.2, Omerga 366.3,, Lohara 292.9, and Washi 289.4 mm.

Sinakolegaon, Terna, Lower Terna, Ruibhar, Dhanegaon, Bori, Jakekur and Chandani are some of the important dams in the district which fulfil its irrigation and drinking water needs.

Though more than 55 per cent of annual rainfall has been received in the district, not a single major or mediun size dam has been filled to the brim, the officials said.

However, timely rainfall is very beneficial for kharif crops and cash crops like sugarcane.

"Crops are growing fast and farmers have expressed satisfaction over amount of rains received in the district," they said.

Parts of Ratnagiri inundated after heavy rains, hurdles faced in rescue operations; two dead in landslide

Several towns in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri were inundated following heavy rains, with inclement weather and incessant downpour creating difficulties for the government agencies to carry out rescue operations in this district located in the Konkan region, a state minister said on Thursday.

An official said that two persons died due to a landslide near Parshuram ghat in the district during the day.

Major rivers in Ratnagiri district, including Jagbudi, Vashishti, Kodavali, Shastri, Bav have been flowing above the danger level following heavy rains.

As a result of this, Khed, Chiplun, Lanja, Rajapur, Sangameshwar towns and nearby areas have been affected and the government agencies are engaged in the task of shifting local residents to safer places, the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said earlier.

Talking to PTI over phone, Transport Minister Anil Parab, who is the district guardian minister of Ratnagiri, said that road connectivity in parts of the district has been completely snapped due to heavy rains.

"Chiplun town is completely inundated. Similar situation prevails in Khed.  There is difficulty in reaching these places since all roads are closed. Rescue teams from municipality, Coast Guard, Customs are using their boats to shift people from the low- lying areas. We have opened marriage halls, school buildings so that the evacuated people can spend their night there," he said.

Parab, who is in Ratnagiri to monitor the rescue and relief operations, said that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams are unable to reach the spots due to unfavourable weather conditions.

"The helicopters that are engaged in the operations had to go back. The stranded people will be evacuated to safer places when choppers reach. Till then, we are providing food and water to the affected people," he added.

The minister said that the region has been witnessing continuous rain and the water level of rivers is not showing signs of receding.

Ratnagiri collector told PTI that incessant showers led to an incident landslide in the district, in which two persons were killed.

"The landslide near Parshuram ghat claimed the lives of two persons. A rescue team has reached the spot to assess if there was any more damage. Identification of the victims is being carried out. Heavy rainfall and flooding on the streets have affected the communication in the region," he said.

"The flooding in Chiplun town has not claimed any life so far. But we will be able to assess the damage to life and property only after the water recedes," Patil said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took a review of the situation in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts by holding a meeting with the officials.

During the meeting, he said that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an alert of heavy rainfall in this region for the next three days.

Two more lakes supplying water to Mumbai overflow; 54 per cent stock in seven reservoirs

Two key sources of potable water for Mumbai - Tansa and Modak Sagar lakes - started overflowing on early Thursday due to heavy rains in their catchment areas since last week, the city civic body said.

With this, four lakes that provide drinking water to the metropolis are now filled to their capacity.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the Modak Sagar lake started overflowing at 3.24 am and Tansa at 5.48 am.

Thereafter, two gates of the Modak Sagar dam one of Tansa were opened, it said.

Last year, Modak Sagar had started overflowing on August 18 and Tansa on August 20, the BMC informed.

The BMC said the seven reservoirs supplying water to the metropolis have a total water storage capacity of 144736.3 million liters and all of them combined were holding 77956.8 million litres, which means 53.86 per cent of their capacity, as on Thursday morning.

Earlier, two of the seven reservoirs, namely Tulsi and Vihar, started overflowing on July 16 and July 18, respectively.

The civic body was considering to impose a water cut in the city as the stock in these seven reservoirs had gone down below 20 per cent level earlier this month.

However, citizens have got a big relief as four of the seven lakes have started overflowing due to heavy downpour over the last two weeks, while water level is rising in the remaining three reservoirs.

Rains pound Thane, Palghar; at least three dead

At least three deaths in rain-related incidents were reported in Maharashtra's Palghar district, officials said on Thursday.

Heavy rains pounded the coastal Palghar and Thane districts adjoining Mumbai during the night and on Thursday morning, causing flooding and boulder crashes and disrupting train services.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were roped in to rescue hundreds of stranded people, officials said.

Palghar District Collector Dr Manik Gursal said there were several cases of house collapse, roads and small bridges getting washed away, and boulder crash.

Rama Thackeray (53), resident of Dumadpada-Kunje in Vikramgad tehsil, was washed away in a flooded stream and the body was found later.

Darshana Dileep Dhutkar (50), resident of Sare Embur in Palghar tehsil, was also washed away and drowned.

Gautam Shirish Dhanwa (18), resident of Maswan, died of electric shock, the collector said.

In Dahanu tehsil of Palghar district, two buffaloes died of electric shock, Gursal said.

In Jawhar tehsil, Choutachiwadi-Dhanoshi-Sakur-Pathrdi-Vanganpada road caved in and a bridge on the stretch was washed away.

At least 15 stranded persons were rescued at Chambarsheth.

In Wada tehsil, a house collapsed in Kalamkhand.

At Borande, 130 people were shifted to a Zilla Parishad (ZP) school and private houses.

At Ambiste, five families were shifted to a ZP school.

Eight families were shifted to a ZP school after the Shelte lake bund breached.

Three houses were damaged due to the floods following the breach, the collector said.

In Mokhada, 23 houses and a school were damaged, while boulder crashes were reported at Sawarde, Chintutara and Kharegaon-Khodala.

A small bridge was washed away at Amle.

In Palghar tehsil, eight houses were partly damaged, while the Manor bridge went under water.

In Vasai tehsil, Umgaon-Bhatne road caved in while Shiravali-Medaphata road went under water.

In Dahanu, eight houses were damaged.

In Thane city, the body of Jeevan Owhal (36), who had fallen into a swollen stream on July 17, was found in Vitawa creek, an official said.

The Thane Disaster Response Force team rescued 10 people from the Idga slum colony in Bhiwandi who were stranded in floodwater.

In Bhatsai village, which is located on a hillock, stranded people could not come out and were shifted to a school in the locality, she said.

A bridge at Sapgaon in Sahapur tehsil of Thane suffered extensive damage due to the heavy downpour, tehsildar (revenue officer) Nilima Suryavanshi said.

The Modak Sagar dam in Sahapur started overflowing at 3.24 am on Thursday and two of its gates were opened to release water.

Some villages in the Sahapur tehsil were marooned, Suryavanshi said, adding that local authorities with the help of the NDRF rescued hundreds of people.

In Vashind near Sahapur, flood waters entered a housing complex and its residents were shifted to a zilla parishad school with the help of the NDRF.

In Cherpoli, some stranded people were rescued with the help of boats.

In Bhiwandi tehsil, stranded people were rescued with the help of NDRF in Padgha, Kawad, Ganesh Nagar and Khairpada, tehsildar Adik Patil said.

A number of people were also rescued from flooded localities near the banks of the Kamwari river in Bhiwandi, another official said.

In Badlapur Wangni, 10 people and 70 animals were rescued from an ashram.

Besides, people stranded in inundated areas of Kasara and Titwala in Thane district were also shifted to ZP schools.

Thane's regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam said they received 34 calls about tree fall in the city, but no one was injured in the incidents.

The Nashik-Jawhar route was closed following a landslide.

The administration advised people to use the Trambak-Deogaon-Khodala route.

(With PTI Inputs)



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