21 killed as heavy rains pound Maharashtra, more in store

Pune, Sep 26, 2019-

At least 21 persons were killed and nine missing in various rain-related incidents in Maharashtra’s Pune, Jalgaon and Nashik since late Wednesday, officials said here on Thursday.

Of the total fatalities, 14 deaths took place in Pune district, six in Jalgaon and one in Nashik in the past 24 hours of rains, while the India Meteorological Department has forecast more heavy rains for Friday.

According to the state and district disaster management authorities, at least five persons were washed away in flood waters in the Khed-Shivapur area on Pune-Bengaluru Highway. Three bodies were recovered from a well in the downstream region early on Thursday and a hunt is on for the others.

A building compound wall crashed in Arnyshwar Complex, killing six more people, while some others were feared trapped under the debris. While two bodies have been recovered, search is on for the remaining persons.

Caught in a thunderstorm, six people were killed as they took refuge under a tree in Jalgaon, a Maharashtra Disaster Control Authority official told.

Two persons were found dead in cars that were washed away in the flood waters in Kondwa and Saswad areas.

An auto-rickshaw driver was killed due to electrocution in a flooded area of a village on the outskirts of Nashik on Thursday, police said.

As flood waters rose, more than 15,000 people were evacuated from Baramati tehsil, and others from different areas like Sinhgad, Dhanakwadi, Balajinagar, Ambegaon, Sahakar Nagar, Parvati Nagar, Kolhewadi and Kirkatwadi. They have been housed in temporary camps set up in these areas.

In many areas, panicked residents took refuge on upper floors or terrace as flood waters gushed into ground floor residences.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams are deployed each in Baramati and Pune, while a fifth team was on its way to Baramati and that the flood situation is being closely monitored.

He also spoke with Baramati legislator and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and promised full help to the flood-affected.

State Congress President Balasaheb Thorat said a very grim situation has arisen due to Pune floods and resulted in loss of lives.

“I urge the state government to take immediate measures to bring relief to the people in this crisis,” Thorat told media persons.

Since last night, Pune city and district has been lashed by more than 16 cm of torrential downpour, with forecast of more rain in the next 24 hours.

Officials said this is a record rainfall hitting the district in the past 10 years, flooding many areas in a very short period.

Normal life has been crippled in the state’s cultural, academic and IT capital since Wednesday as most people preferred to remain indoors under heavily overcast skies and non-stop rain.

An estimated 200-plus big and small vehicles were washed away in the floods in the city and outskirts, besides tonnes of rubbish piling up in different areas.

Local officials said around 150 homes have been damaged, rendering hundreds of families homeless.

In view of rising water levels, flooding in many areas, Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram has declared a holiday for all schools and colleges in Pune city and neighbouring areas of Purandar, Baramati, Bhor and Haveli.

Ram added that Pune has received 180 percent of its annual seasonal total rainfall, a record, and all the dams in the district are overflowing for the first time in 22 years.

Water discharge of at least 13,000 cusec is slated from the flooded Khadakwasla Dam near the city and the Pune Municipal Corporation has evacuated around 500 people. Similarly, the water discharge from Nazare Dam in Purandar was increased to 85,000 cusecs.

Traffic on the highways linking Pune with Mumbai, Nashik, Bengaluru was hit due to rain and at least two incidents of landslides on the Pune-Satara highway.  (Agency)

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