A week after Chiplun city in Ratnagiri was almost entirely flooded after heavy rain, the district administration is planning to construct a protection wall along Vashisti river in the city to keep flood waters at bay.
“The plan to build a protection wall along Vashisti river from Kolkewadi dam is being considered… it is still in discussion stage,” Ratnagiri District Collector B N Patil told The Indian Express on Thursday.
Last week, entire Chiplun city was submerged after catchment areas of Vashiti and Jagbudi rivers received extremely heavy rain. While Vashiti river levels had risen up to 8 metres, the flood water in some city areas rose beyond 10-12 feet.
“The Jagbudi river level had risen close to 12 metres while the Vashiti river was up to 8 metres. The catchment areas of the rivers received 700 mm rain, which was unprecedented,” said the collector.
Meanwhile, over 4,000 traders and shopkeepers in Chiplun, whose business was hit by the heavy rain and flood, have sought assistance of Rs 3,500 crore from the state government
“We are used to flooding of our shops and homes, up to 5-6 feet. But this time, the water went up to the second floor, way above 10 feet,” said Kishore Redij, president of the Chiplun Vyapari Mahasangh.
Redij said there was no alert or warning from the authorities. “The excess water was discharged from Kolkewadi dam without any prior intimation, and this was done early in the morning, when most residents were fast asleep. As a result, we could not even lock up our essential material and move to safety. Some moved up to top floors and were stranded without power supply, drinking water or food. A few managed to leave the city,” he said.
“The shopkeepers were badly hit by the flooding. The force of the water was so strong that it broke shutters of most shop and destroyed the material and the furniture inside,” said Redij.
Patil, however, denied that excess water was released from the dam. “About 10,000 cusecs of water was released from the dam that day. There was no release of excess water… it is because of the flooding of Vashiti and Jagbudi rivers and the high tide in the sea that flooding occurred in city areas,” he said.
Redij said most shopkeepers operate by taking short-term personal loans. “Due to the Covid-19 situation, they have suffered losses and now the flood situation has added to their woes. We have urged the state government to waive the loans of shopkeepers, as has been done for farmers…,” he said.
The Association has also urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to provide financial aid of Rs 3,500 crore to shopkeepers and traders. “When the CM visited Chiplun a couple of days back, we told him to provide us assistance, otherwise our lives would be completely destroyed. The CM has promised to help… we hope the government will bail us out from this crisis,” he said.