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Raigad village hit by natural disaster wasn’t on landslide-prone list: Ajit Pawar

He also said the government machinery was keeping a close watch on landslide-prone areas in the state, and had evacuated over 90,000 people who were residing in dangerous places across five districts.

Written by Atikh Rashid | Pune |
Updated: July 24, 2021 8:49:58 pm
A resident of Taliye village stands near his house damaged by the landslide. (Express Photo: Deepak Joshi)

Taliye village in Mahad taluka of Raigad district, where over 40 people were killed in a landslide on Thursday evening, was not among the villages identified as landslide-prone, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said in Pune on Saturday.

He also said the government machinery was keeping a close watch on landslide-prone areas in the state, and had evacuated over 90,000 people who were residing in dangerous places across five districts.

Nearly 50 people have died in a string of landslides in Raigad district in the last two days, with the single biggest toll recorded in Taliye village in Mahad Taluka, where 35 houses situated at the foot of a hill were flattened by a large landslide.

“We were keeping a watch on areas in Kolhapur, Raigad and Pune districts, which have been identified as landslide-prone areas. However, you will be surprised to know, that the village Taliye where the landslide happened was not among these,” Pawar told mediapersons in Pune on Saturday.

Residents of Taliye village mourn the loss of a loved one on Saturday. (Express Photo: Deepak Joshi)

He said so far, 76 people have died in incidents linked to heavy rainfall in Maharashtra in the last few days, while 38 have been injured and 59 are still missing. Over 90,000 have been shifted from their homes to safer places due to the danger posed by rising water levels.

Pawar assured that areas currently not accessible via roads will be provided with relief material such as rice, daal and kerosene via helicopters.

Rescue personnel carry the body of a person killed in the landslide. (Express Photo: Deepak Joshi)

“Where possible, Shiv Bhojan centres will also be run to provide food for the needy. District administration officers have been directed to take all necessary measures to provide relief without waiting for approval from the state government,” he added.

When asked where alleged mining and construction activities, which are reportedly going on in the sensitive Western Ghat areas, as well as delay in deepening of dams, could have caused the disaster, Pawar said the disaster was caused by unprecedented rainfall in the area. The administration and NDRF had taken all possible effort to provide urgent help and rescue those trapped, he said.

The Maharashtra government was receiving all required help from the central government, said the Deputy CM. “We are in touch with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah. After Singh was approached for help by (Baramati MP) Supriya Sule, he has promised all help, and asked us to appoint a nodal officer for co-ordination. We have appointed the officer who will relay the requests for help by district collectors to the Air Force, Army and NDRF, as and when needed,” said Pawar.

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