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Narmada in spate, forces called in for relief

An aerial view of Hoshangabad township in Madhya Pradesh on Friday after heavy rains caused flooding. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

An aerial view of Hoshangabad township in Madhya Pradesh on Friday after heavy rains caused flooding. Photo: A. M. Faruqui

Heavy rainfall has led to flooding in 24 of Madhya Pradesh's 51 districts. This is particularly severe in Hoshangabad and Dewas districts. So far 106 people have died in rain related incidents; 20 in the last 24 hours alone. The deaths of 300 odd heads of cattle, submergence of 15,581 hectares of farms and 26,861 homes has also been reported. A railway bridge in Betul district has been partially destroyed and train services on the Bhopal- Nagpur route have been disrupted.

Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan called for an emergency meeting on Friday, after reports came in from District Collectors that areas close to the Narmada and its tributaries have been submerged. He addressed a press conference with DGP Nandan Dube and Chief Secretary R. Parasuram, before leaving for an aerial tour of the affected districts.

Mr. Chouhan said, "The Narmada is flowing 18 feet above the danger mark. This has resulted in approximately 50 villages being submerged and at least 50,000 people have been displaced. We request people not to resist and evacuate areas we have asked them to."

He added, "There is no need to fear, but stay alert. Don't use rafts as they can topple over and don't use bridges that are unstable. Our first priority is to evacuate those stranded and then undertake rehabilitation."

Compensation of Rs. 1 lakh each has been declared for those deceased, Rs. 50,000 for those with severe injuries and Rs. 10,000 for those with minor injuries. The gates of Bargi, Indira Sagar, Tawa and Omkareshwar dams had been opened when this report was filed.

A column of approximately 300 troops was brought in from Jabalpur by train to Sohagpur in Hoshangabad for relief operations. Two Mi-8 helicopters of the Air Force are carrying out rescue and relief sorties in Hoshangabad and Dewas districts. Mr. Dube said choppers would also be dropping food and soup packets where needed.

A chopper was engaged in rescuing 50 people stranded on an island on the Kanhan river in Chhindwara when this report was filed.

The state has received 1139.8mm of rainfall, which is in excess by 64 per cent, this monsoon. An average of 44.5mm was recorded in the state today, which is 323 per cent above normal. Betul and Hoshangabad recorded the highest rainfall of 188 mm and 181 mm today respectively.

Many schools across the state have been closed and turned into relief camps. Soya yield is expected to take a hit this season. Torrential rain is expected in Bhopal, Narmadapuram and Indore divisions tomorrow.

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Printable version | Aug 19, 2022 1:08:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/narmada-in-spate-forces-called-in-for-relief/article5052796.ece