Kolhapur has been witnessing unprecedented floods since last few days following heavy rains in Konkan and western parts of the state where over 40 people have lost their lives in the deluge. The Mumbai-Bengaluru national highway which was closed since last seven days due to floods have been partially opened for traffic in the district after water receded. Continuous discharge of water from Almatti dam in Karnataka brought down the water level of the Panchganga river in Kolhapur where it was flowing above the danger mark. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that efforts are being taken to ensure speedy restoration of essential services to the flood affected district. Fadnavis also has cancelled the Janadesh Yatra after receiving flak from the opposition parties.
Congress spokesperson Hemlata Patil told Afternoon Voice’s reporter Nikhil Sagare, “The flood situation has receded. The victims who will return to their homes must be provided assistance by the government. They should be provided medicine and utensils. Volunteers must stay at the flood hit areas and distribute necessary commodities to flood affected victims. The flood affected homes must be cleaned.”
“The flood situation in Kolhapur and Sangli is grim. Tackling the floods and rescue efforts are the top priority. My entire focus is on rescue operations in Kolhapur. Girish Mahajan will oversee the rescue effort in Sangli along with guardian minister Subhash Deshmukh,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Mandlik said, “Kolhapur has been battling with floods. Even though there was delay in offering assistance but NGOs, MPs and MLAs have come forward to shift people from Ambewadi, Chikli areas to safer places. The process got speeded up after NDRF teams arrived at the place. Food packets were distributed to victims of flood incidents.”
“Around three hundred houses have been damaged due to floods. Sugarcane and soyabean crops have been destroyed. A survey will be conducted to ascertain the damage occurred to property. We will appeal to the government to call this national tragedy. We also want the government to announce 100 per cent loan waiver,” he added.
Fadnavis also added that he was in close touch with the petroleum ministry to restore the supply of fuel. The current fuel of stock in Kolhapur has been reserved for the rescue teams and sale to the general public has been stopped.
The traffic movement was allowed between Kolhapur and Belgaum in Karnataka through one lane on Shiroli bridge of the six lane NH 4 where thousands of vehicles have been stuck after the busy highway was submerged in floodwaters last week.
RTI activist Anil Galgali said, “Human beings are responsible for the flood. Permission was granted to undertake construction activities in catchment areas and those places where water gets accumulated. The government has failed to offer relief and rehabilitation work.”
As per information available at the district collectorate, the Panchganga river’s water level came down by almost one foot overnight, but it was still flowing at the danger mark of 49 feet.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Amar Sable said, “Kolhapur and Sangli have been affected due to floods. Residents of these districts should be provided assistance by the government.”
“Rains have stopped in the Panchganga’s catchment areas but some discharge is still going on from dams into the river. Once the water-level goes down further, roads in Kolhapur will be opened for vehicular movement,” an official at the collectorate said.
“The water level has come down and Shiroli bridge can be used for vehicular traffic. So far, we have decided to open only one lane on either side of the national highway as a precautionary measure,” Kolhapur’s Superintendent of police Abhinav Deshmukh said.
Around 105 teams of the Army, Air Force, Navy, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Coast Guard, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), police and local officials were carrying out rescue operations in the western Maharashtra region, officials said. Thousands of trucks carrying essential commodities were stranded since last week on the flood affected highway which is a vital link between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
“Initially the highway was opened for heavy vehicles, especially those carrying essential commodities like food grains, fuel, medicines and milk,” said Deshmukh. A portion of highway is still submerged upto 1.5 feet under the floodwaters but we decided to permit heavy vehicles to ply as Kolhapur has been struggling to get essential commodities,” he added.
Nearly 4.48 lakh people have been evacuated from flood hit areas across the state including 4.04 lakh from Kolhapur and Sangli. They were shifted to 372 temporary camps and shelters a senior state official said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that each flood hit family in the state will be given Rs 5,000 cash while the remaining assistance will be deposited in their bank account.
Afternoon Voice appeals to people to come forward to provide assistance to people affected due to floods in Kolhapur. We have also started a tagline ‘De Dhakka, Kolhapur Ko Wapas Khada Karna hai. You can contact us at Afternoon Voice 425, 4th Floor, Gundecha Industrial Estate, Akurli Road, Kandivali (E), Mumbai 400101. You can also donate a small amount which will be used to help rebuild the affected areas. For more details call us on 9820199881 or 9321199881.