NDRF conducting rescue operations
Geetanjali Minhas | July 23, 2021 | Mumbai
Severe rains battered Raigad, Thane, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Satara regions of Maharashtra with rains in Ratnagiri district breaking the 40-year record. As rivers in these districts crossed warning levels, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Coast Guard, Navy and Army units were deployed in the Konkan belt of the state. The disaster management department started rescuing people stranded in these areas. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held an emergency meeting with disaster management officials to stay vigilant.
Chiplun, a small town in Ratnagiri, was under seven feet of water with social media flooded with pictures of its local market, bus stand and railway station deep water. In the close-by Khed tehsil the Jaggudi river was flowing above danger mark.
In Kolhapur two units of NDRF were deployed. Two squadrons of 25 personnel each equipped with state-of-the-art equipment like IRB boat, diver set, life jackets and rescue ropes were conducting rescue operations. NDRF units have also being deployed in Satara and Sangli with the possibility of floods in Pune division.
As per the meteorological dept data of Thursday afternoon, the drought belt of Marathwada and Vidarbha had also received very heavy rainfall in the past 48 hours, with Parbhani receiving 972% above normal rains, Jalna 668%, Washim 667% and Akola 611%. The Indian Metereological Department (IMD) has issued a severe weather warning for Maharashtra from July 22 till July 26.
Late Thursday night, four landslides were reported in Raigad. At least 47 villages are reported cut off in Kolhapur district after roads leading them were submerged in water due to heavy rains. As many as 965 families have been shifted to safer places as the Panchganga river reached near the danger mark.
Ten state highways, 29 district highways and 18 rural roads were closed for traffic due to flooding at various stretches in Maharashtra. Two teams of the NDRF were rushed to Ratnagiri's Khed and Chiplun areas to tackle critical situations due to high tide and heavy rain.
A red and orange alert is sounded in Ratnagiri, Raigadh, Pune, Kolhapur, Satara and Mumbai for the next three days and citizens in flooded areas have been asked to cooperate with the government. Next 36 hours are extremely critical for Ratnagiri as well. Mumbai has already received over 2,000 mm of season’s rain. The catchment areas of the rivers that supply water to the city had a 17% jump in water levels in single day.
Heavy rains also paralysed the Central Railway’s operations at Kasara Ghat after boulders fell down. People who travel daily to Mumbai for work and those who go to Nashik were stranded. It was restored after 21 hours. The State Transport Corporation deployed 133 buses for the stranded passengers at Kasara and Igatpuri in the morning and around 5,800 passengers were transported through these buses, according to transport minister Anil Parab.
“Thousands of passengers were stranded at different places due to the central train traffic jam. Upon receiving this information, the ST Corporation has provided about 133 buses from Thane (93) and Nashik (40) divisions for service of passengers stranded at the railway station. More than 5,800 passengers were released safely,” he said.
Due to the closure of Pune-Mumbai-Pune railway service with heavy rains, 74 ST buses were released out of which 65 buses were for passengers from Pune station going to Mumbai and nine buses were deployed from Mumbai. Traffic movement on the Mumbai-Goa highway was also suspended.
Prime minister Nareandra Modi also spoke to Thackeray assuring him all help. “Spoke to Maharastra CM Mr Uddhav Thackeray and discussed the situation in the wake of heavy rainfall and flooding. Assured all possible support from the centre to mitigate the situation. Praying for everyone’s safety and well being @OfficeofUT,” he tweeted.
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