Heavy rains lashed Saurashtra and north Gujarat, including Morbi, Surendranagar and Rajkot, resulting in evacuation of over 3,500 people, temporary closure of 62 roads and power cuts in 124 villages, said government sources on Saturday. PTI also reported the death of one person on Saturday. As many as 25 dams either overflowed or floodwater was released form them on Saturday.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been pressed for rescue and relief operations even as the local meteorological department has issued a warning of heavy rainfall for Sunday.
NDRF teams have been deployed in Surat, Valsad, Palanpur, Rajkot and Gandhinagar districts. Five other teams have been kept in reserve, the state government stated. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held an emergency meeting on Saturday morning to review the flood-like situation in several parts of Saurashtra and North Gujarat and ordered the NDRF teams to remain stationed in Tankara taluka of Morbi and Chotila in Surendranagar, the worst-affected areas.
“The NDRF teams have been stationed in Tankara, Chotila, Valsad and Surat in south Gujarat and Palanpur in north,” a government release said.
The released further stated that 11 talukas of the state received over 125 mm rainfall, including Chotila (450 mm) and Tankara (340 mm) in Saurashtra region till Friday midnight. “Over 1,500 people have been evacuated, including 1,320 from Tankara and 250 from near Machhu river,” the state government release stated.
Tankara recorded another three inches (85 mm) rain while Chotila six inches (138 mm) on Saturday. Rescue operation at a village in neighbouring Wankaner taluka is also on. It recorded five inches (107 mm) of rain late on Friday night.
“In Tankara, Rati Devadi village has been cut off from rest of the district from where teams of NDRF and Wankaner fire brigade rescued around 50 people with the help of MI-17V5 helicopter of Indian Air Force (IAF),” said an official. An NDRF team was busy rescuing 50 people trapped in Maliya taluka of Morbi and had shifted 29 people to safer places with help of a boat till 8 pm. Another 22 were rescued in Ranjitpar village in Jodiya taluka of Jamanagar district.
“The Surendranagar district administration, with the help of IAF helicopter, has rescued around 50 people strand0ed in Dhrangadhra taluka, and three more from Krishnagar Society in Surendrnagar town,” added the official. Three others were rescued from Bhogavo river in Limdi taluka of the district. Some roads were shut for vehiclular traffic in Vadhwan and Limdi talukas as Bhogavo river swelled.
Following heavy rains, Aji and Machhu rivers in Rajkot and Surendranagar districts respectively, have swelled, after which people living in low-lying areas have been alerted. In Rajkot, authorities have asked citizens not to venture out of their houses. “A middle-aged couple was swept by water near Jeta Kuba village in Lodhika taluka this (Saturday) morning. While Navalbhai Khunt (45) could not be saved, his wife was rescued,” Rajkot District Collector Vikrant Pandey told the PTI.
Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani said water-logging in low-lying areas has closed many roads and thrown life out of gear in Rajkot city. The city was lashed by 12 inches rain till 4 pm on Saturday.
“Around 2,000 people have been shifted to safer places in Rajkot district,” officials of the disaster control room said.
As many as 13 dams across the state are overflowing — 10 in Saurashtra and three in North Gujarat. The Dholi Dhaja dam in Surendranagar overflowed while floodgates Aji-II and Aji-III dams had been opened. Similarly, floodgates of Demi-I, II and III dams were opened. While Machhu-I dam overflowed, 10 floodgates of Machhu-II were opened five feet. Similarly, 15 gates of Machhu-III dam were opened up to three feet.
Dams across the state have received 5,217.85 million cubic metre water this season. Water level in Sardar Sarovar dam has also gone up to 117 m, making it 85.26 per cent full. Dhanera-Tharad-Vav national highway, passing through Banaskantha district of north Gujarat, and 14 state highways are among the 62 roads across the state that remained temporarily closed on Saturday.