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Landslide toll now 43, Kolhapur, Sangli flood situation improves

More than 1.28 lakh residents were shifted to safer places before water could flood their homes, Chaudhary added.

Written by Manoj Dattatreya More | Pune |
July 25, 2021 10:59:42 pm
A rescue worker with an infant in Kolhapur, Saturday. (Express photo)

The death toll from the landslide in Satara and Ratnagiri villages rose to 43 on Sunday but the situation in flood-affected Kolhapur and Sangli saw improvement with rain taking a break and water level receding in the rivers passing through the two districts.

“The situation in the district is under control. The water level, which had risen to 54.6 feet at Irwin bridge in Sangli, has come down a notch. The rain has taken a break and the discharge from Koyna dam has remained constant at 31,000 cusecs,” said Sangli district collector Abhijit Chaudhary on Sunday evening.

More than 1.28 lakh residents were shifted to safer places before water could flood their homes, Chaudhary added. “Over 22,500 families have been shifted to relief camps. Many of them have also gone to their relatives’ place with their livestock,” he said. Walva and Paloos talukas are the worst affected areas from where 14,000 families were shifted with their livestock.

According to Chaudhary, there are 11 villages in the district that are completely underwater and 83 that are partially underwater. “The village residents were shifted well before water started entering their homes,” said Chaudhary.

The collectorate had alerted residents on Saturday that the river level will stay at 51 feet, so some had opted to remain in their highrise buildings. But the water level rose to 54 feet on Sunday. “It was information that we received from the irrigation department and passed on to the residents. However, we did not get many distress calls. We rushed the NDRF team to the spots from we received distressed calls from stranded people,” Chaudhary said.

In Kolhapur, too, the situation was improving as the Panchgang river water had started receding. “The situation has improved further with water level in the river coming down,” said District Guardian Minister Satej Patil said, adding that 1.45 lakh people were shited to safer places.

The public address system, based on GSM technology, helped thousands of people take precautions during the flooding over the past few days, Patil added.

“After the 2019 flooding in the district, the administration had installed the GSM-based public address system in 57 places in Shirol and Karveer talukas. The system has been funded from the annual plan of the District Planning Committee. The system was activated during the flooding and heavy rainfall to address people and direct them to take precautions such as not venturing outside their homes and shifting to safer places if required,” he said.

The system was installed in 21 villages in Karveer taluka, Ambewadi, Balinge, Bhuye, Chikhali, Hanmantwadi and Nigave and 36 villages in Aurwad, Akiwat, Kurundwad, Nursinhwadi, Rajapur, Shirol in Shirol taluka. “These villages face the risk of flooding during monsoon every year,” said Patil.

“The system has benefited 3.5 lakh people as they received timely intimation about the potential risk of flood. The village residents were informed in advance that they would be shifted to safer places and it helped the administration in smooth transition. Similarly, they were also informed about the precautions they were required to take during heavy rainfall and waterlogging. The system is operated from the District Disaster Management Control Room or other offices of the district collectorate. Besides the low cost of operation, the system runs on solar power and does not require electricity. It is an added advantage of the system as power outage during natural disasters is a common phenomenon,” said Patil, who is also Minister of State for Home and Information Technology.

Patil added that seven people have died in rain-related incidents in Kolhapur district so far. “As many as six teams of the NDRF and a column of the Army carried out rescue operations in the flood-hit areas,” said Patil.

“As the intensity of rain reduced, the water level of the Panchganga river at the Rajaram weir near Kolhapur city further dropped to 53.10 feet at 9 pm on Saturday. The vehicular traffic on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway, however, remained closed as a stretch near Shiroli village in the district was underwater,” he said.

Meanwhile, the death toll from landslides in Satara district rose to 27. “Eight bodies were recovered from Mirgaon in Patan taluka since last evening. As many as 11 deaths have occurred in Ambeghar village. Four bodies were recovered from Risvad village and four were recovered from two other villages in the taluka. In all, 38 people have died in rain-related incidents and landslides in the district in the past few days,” the district administration said in a statement on Sunday.

In Porse Khurd village of Ratnagiri district, which was affected by the landslide, nine more bodies were recovered on Sunday, taking the death toll to 16 while seven persons have sustained injuries, officials said.

Flood affected students appearing for JEE (Main) to get another opportunity

Kolhapur Congress MLA Ruturaj Patil on Sunday said the central government has announced that JEE (Main) exams will be held again for students who are unable to appear for exams due to the floods in Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and other districts of Maharashtra. “The Union HRD minister has announced the postponement in response to the follow up by Patil. The exams were scheduled to take place on July 25 and 27…The National Testing Agency (NTA) will take a call on the date very soon. The decision has come after I followed it up with the state and central government on the concerns of the students for the last few days,” said Patil.

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