Twenty seven people died in various rain-related incidents in three western Maharashtra districts — Solapur, Pune and Sangli — as heavy rain caused by a deep depression battered various parts of the state from Wednesday afternoon, leading to widespread flooding. Over 20,000 people had to be evacuated to safer locations in these three districts following incidents of flooding.
As predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), most parts of Maharashtra started receiving heavy rain from Wednesday because of a strong low-pressure system in the Bay of Bengal, which further intensified into a deep depression as it traversed across the land, moving towards the Arabian sea.
As many as 27 deaths were reported in rain-related incidents in Solapur, Pune and Sangli districts from Wednesday till Thursday afternoon, said Pune Division officials. While 14 persons were killed in Solapur district, including six in a wall collapse incident in the temple town of Pandharpur, four persons died in Pune and nine in Sangli district respectively, said officials.
The wall collapse incident was reported from Kumbharghat area, located on the banks of Bhima river in Pandharpur, on Wednesday afternoon. Six of the four deceased belonged to the same family. An inquiry has been launched by the district administration into the incident.
In Daund taluka of Pune district, four persons were swept away while trying to cross a swollen stream, which was overflowing, on Wednesday night. Police officials said four persons on two bikes were trying to cross the overflowing stream on a road near Rajegaon Khanota village near Daund town, around 80 km from Pune.
“Four persons were swept away while crossing the stream around 10 pm on Wednesday. Bodies of three persons have been recovered. Search for the fourth person is on,” said Inspector Sunil Mahadik of Daund police station.
Police have identified the deceased as Shahaji Lokhande (52), Appasaheb Dhaytonde (55) and his wife Kalavati (48). The fourth person, Subhash Narayan Lokhande (48) is still reported missing and a search is being conducted by the police teams with the help of local villagers.
The fifth death in Pune district was reported from Haveli taluka.
As many as 20,640 persons were evacuated by respective local district administrations and rescue agencies from flooded areas in Solapur, Pune and Sangli. In Solapur district, which was the worst-hit, 17,000 people were evacuated, while in Pune and Sangli districts, 3,000 and 640 people, respectively, had to be shifted to safer places, said officials from Pune Division.
Officials of the district administration, disaster management department and police were pressed into action in all the affected areas of these districts. The process of shifting people from low-lying areas to safer locations was launched hours before the rain intensified on Wednesday afternoon.
The other two districts in Pune Division — Kolhapur and Satara — also received heavy rain. However, no casualties were reported or no large-scale evacuations were required, said officials.
Many parts of Pune district, including urban areas in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, reported waterlogging and flooding from Wednesday night.
According to fire brigades of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies, at least 60 incidents of water logging in residential areas, roads and houses and around 20 incidents of tree collapse were reported across the two urban areas.
Flooding of water streams and rivers, and subsequent waterlogging, badly affected the road network in the three districts. In Solapur, over 150 roads were closed for traffic for hours, cutting off several villages. The Pune-Solapur highway was flooded due to the rise in backwaters of the Ujani dam, near Bhigwan, late on Wednesday night. The road was again opened for traffic around midnight.
The 5th Battalion of the National Disaster Response Force, headquartered near Talegaon in Pune, has deployed a total of four teams — two teams in Solapur, one team in Pandharpur town and another team in Baramati town in Pune district. The battalion has also sent two teams for relief work in Karnataka, said officials.
“Along with the deployed teams in Solapur and Baramati, rest of our teams are on stand-by and we are closely monitoring the situation,” said Anupam Shrivstava, Commandant of the 5th Battalion.
Power supply in many parts of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad was snapped after over 300 transformers malfunctioned due to rain-related causes. Power supply from over 95 per cent of these transformers was restored by Thursday morning, said officials from the Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company Ltd.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday asked the state administration, Army, Navy and Air Force to be on high alert to tackle any emergency.
As per a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, Thackeray reviewed the situation and instructed officials to be on alert to avoid any loss of life. It added that NDRF units have been deployed at Osmanabad, Solapur, Pandharpur and Baramati. Besides, Army, Navy and Air Force have been asked to be on high alert for emergency relief work, according to the statement.
The CM also directed the administration to assess the damage caused to crops and properties due to the heavy rain. The statement added that Thackeray directed the local administrations to provide financial assistance to the relatives of those who lost their lives in the wall collapse incident in Pandharpur.
With inputs from ENS, Mumbai
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