Just months after a crippling drought in the state, Maharashtra is now grappling with a severe flood situation, especially in its western districts. Over 1.32 lakh people have been shifted to safer places in western Maharashtra with flood waters inundating several towns and villages, especially Kolhapur and Sangli districts on Wednesday following incessant rains.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis cancelled his “Maha Jan Aadesh Yatra”, a month-long outreach programme ahead of elections in the state. He held a meeting in Mumbai to review the flood situation along with senior ministers like Eknath Shinde, Ramdas Kadam, Girish Mahajan and Chandrakant Patil.
Sixteen deaths in rain-and-flood-related incidents have been reported from western Maharashtra so far in the last seven days, news agency PTI reported. Along with the situation in Maharashtra, the Chief Minister also had to deal with complaints from his counterpart in Karnataka over the release of excess water from the Koyna Dam in western Maharashtra.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to intervene. Mr Fadnavis and Mr Yediyurappa also spoke on the telephone to resolve the issue. While Mr Yediyurappa raised the concerns about the districts of Belagavi, Vijayapura, Raichur, Kalburgi and Yadgir, Mr Fadnavis requested an early discharge from the Almatti Dam, to ease the situation in Kolhapur.
“There is a lot of rain in the catchment areas and we have had to discharge water and in Nashik, the discharge has broken the records of the last fifty years. Whether it’s the discharge of Koyna or Ujni, it has broken all records because of the heavy rain,” Mr Fadnavis told reporters in Mumbai.
“In Nashik we have 105 per cent of the average rainfall and the rainfall of four months has come in 15 days and that’s why it is flooding. To overcome this situation, we have taken the help of the NDRF, help has been sought from the army, navy and air force,” the Maharashtra Chief Minister added.
In Sangli and Kolhapur districts, over 53,000 and 51,000 people were evacuated, respectively. The temple town of Solapur has also been affected and In Solapur district, 2,500 people have been moved to safer places. “Along with all rescue operations in flood affected areas of Maharashtra using all possible forces & efforts, we’ve also decided to increase compensation from Rs. 2,500-Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000-Rs. 15,000 for flood-affected persons,” the Chief Minister tweeted.