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Two lakh displaced due to floods in Western Maharashrra, nine

Press Trust of India  |  Pune 

Over two lakh persons have been evacuated to safer places due to the floods that have wreaked havoc in five districts of Western Maharashtra, the worst hit being the districts of Sangli and Kolhapur, as of Thursday.

At least nine persons drowned in Sangli district when a rescue boat capsized. The region is being pounded by rains incessantly over the last few days.

The total number of deaths due to rain or flood- related incidents in five districts of the region during this period was 27, officials said.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the Karnataka government had agreed to discharge water from Almatti dam on the Krishna river, which would ease the flooding in Maharashtra.

The flood-hit districts, especially Sangli and Kolhapur, are staring at the challenge of repairing damaged houses, roads and restoring water and electricity supply.

Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar told PTI that a total of 2,05,591 people have been shifted in the districts of Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Pune and Satara.

In Kolhapur, 97,102 persons have been shifted, followed 80,319 in Sangli.

In Sangli, water entered the district prison, forcing authorities to shift inmates to the upper floor.

Fadnavis spoke to his Karnataka counterpart B S Yediyurappa earlier in the day, who agreed to release five lakh cusec water from Almatti dam in Karnataka, located downstream on the Krishna which originates in Western Maharashtra.

At least nine people drowned and four went missing after a boat engaged in rescue work overturned near Brahmanal village in Palus tehsil of Sangli.

The boat, belonging to local village panchayat, was carrying around 30 people. Late in the evening, some sources put the death toll at 11 which could not be confirmed.

Rescue teams including those of NDRF, Navy, Coast Guard and Army were operating in Sangli and Kolhapur.

Congress MLA from Palus, Vishwajeet Kadam, said there is scarcity of boats in the region. "Though NDRF teams are working, I think Army and Navy's help should be taken as their boats are more capable of handling this situation," he said.

Speaking to reporters in Kolhapur, Fadnavis, who conducted aerial survey of the region, said two lakh people were living without electricity in flood-affected areas.

"I found most of the Sangli city surrounded by water. My helicopter was not given permission to land at Sangli and Karad," he said.

Eleven rescue teams including five of NDRF were operating in Sangli, and he had sought five more teams from the Defence Ministry for the district, he said.

"As many as 223 villages in Kolhapur are affected. 18 have been completely marooned," he added. Some 38,000 people are staying in relief camps in 152 places in Kolhapur district and sixty boats have been pressed into service, he added.

As many as 3,813 houses are affected in the district.

Those affected will get financial assistance alongwith foodgrains, and a compensation of Rs five lakh will be given to the kin of the deceased, the chief minister said.

As many as 390 water supply schemes in flood-affected areas have become dysfunctional, he said.

"Priority is being given to restoration of water and electricity supply," the chief minister said.

Crops over 67,000 hectares are damaged in Kolhapur district and there is scarcity of petrol and diesel, he said.

The Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway, which passes through Kolhapur, is closed for traffic, he said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Fadnavis during the day and assured him all help from the Centre, officials said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 08 2019. 22:25 IST