While the intensity of rainfall in western Maharashtra decreased on Thursday, the flood situation remained grim, with nine people drowning in Sangli district when a rescue boat capsized.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis conducted an aerial survey to review the situation in Sangli and Kolhapur, which are the worst-hit by the flood.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said nine people drowned and five went missing after a boat engaged in rescue work capsized in Sangli. He said the incident took place at Bramhnal village in Sangli’s Palus taluka. “The deceased include seven women, a man and a child,” he added.
Nineteen people on board the boat, which was ferrying at least 30 people, swam to safety, he said. Mhaisekar added that the boat was arranged by the gram panchayat to evacuate people. “Preliminary reports say the boat was overloaded,” he said.
Kolhapur and Sangli remain cut off from the rest of the state. Around 50,000 people are still believed to be stuck, a government official said.
The Karad-Kolhapur stretch of the Mumbai-Bengaluru national highway remained closed for the third consecutive day due to flooding of Panchganga river. “The water level can increase suddenly. Our challenge is to stop people who are coming to click photos,” said a police officer posted at Sangli Phata Bridge in Kolhapur.
In a joint effort by local police and the state highway patrol, at least 6,000 trucks were stopped on the highway’s service roads or single lanes and not allowed to proceed to Kolhapur. Rajesh Singh, a truck driver carrying building machinery from Mumbai to Bengaluru, said, “We have been told by the police that it will take at least three days for water to recede and only then the road will be cleared.”
The police said that the road will be opened to traffic after the flood water recedes and PWD officials inspect the area.
According to district officials, supply of drinking water, milk and petrol have been hit in some parts of Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara.
Meanwhile, teams of NDRF, Army and Navy continued rescue work in coordination with the local administration. The commandant of the 5th Battalion of NDRF said 28 teams have been deployed in western Maharashtra. “Of these, 23 are in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur. Three more teams are being flown in.”
About 10 Navy teams have been deployed in the region. As on Thursday, the Army has deployed 16 columns, 14 engineer task forces, including a para special force team, in flood-hit areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Around 3,500 people have been rescued, said an Army statement. —WITH PTI