Other States

Uddhav for permanent NDRF teams in high-risk districts

Army personnel during a rescue operation at a flooded area after rain in Kolhapur.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who visited flood-racked Chiplun in the Konkan, said he would be requesting the Centre to permanently station teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the State’s disaster-prone districts to prevent rain-related calamities in the future.

Meanwhile, while precise casualty figures were not forthcoming, sources estimated that the total death toll had risen to nearly 130 with the recovery of nine more bodies in Taliye village in Mahad (taking the toll there to 45) and seven more in Posare village in Khed tehsil in Ratnagiri district. Around 80-100 persons (including more than 30 in Taliye) are still believed to be missing in the flood hit districts including Raigad, Khed and Satara, said authorities as rescue operations continued in full swing amid brief respite in the rains.

The Chief Minister, who toured rain-battered Chiplun on Sunday, said that while the State government and local administration was currently focusing on providing immediate relief in form of food, clothes and medicines, he would officially announce a relief package once a comprehensive survey of all the affected districts in western Maharashtra and the Konkan was completed over the next few days.

“I am not announcing any package just to make people feel better. This is not merely limited to Chiplun, but Raigad and other parts of the State also. The estimates from Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara have yet to come in… The damage to property has been enormous with shops, establishments, infrastructure be they roads, bridges, power lines destroyed by the fury of the floodwaters… So, let the financial review be completed and only then will we be announcing a package,” Mr. Thackeray said.

Grief-stricken residents accosted Mr. Thackeray and his entourage the moment he entered Chiplun, pleading for provide immediate relief.

Reassuring them of every aid possible, Mr. Thackeray said he would be touring western Maharashtra tomorrow to take stock of the destruction in Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur.

Responding to allegations that no help was given to stricken residents for more than 17 hours after the waters rose, Mr. Thackeray said the intensity of the rains had not left anybody with any chance to plan or warn of the dangers ahead.

“Hence, we will be requesting the Centre to keep an NDRF team in such districts. So, at least operations can commence at the earliest at local levels,” he said.

“We have now started experiencing the effects of climate change…areas where villages had nestled comfortably in the mountains for years, unaffected by vagaries of nature, are now being buried by landslides in an instant. This is not merely excess rain, but a far more terrible phenomenon,” he said.

He informed that doctors (including veterinary doctors) from other civic bodies were being brought in the afflicted areas to help stave off any epidemic eruption in the wake of the floods.

Meanwhile, while rains gave a momentary reprieve to Kolhapur and Sangli, the Panchganga and Krishna river waters were still flowing way above their danger levels in the two districts.

While over 1.40 lakh citizens were evacuated to safer zones, more than 75,000 of these were from Kolhapur alone, where six teams of the NDRF and a column of the Army carried out round-the-clock rescue operations in the flood-hit areas.

“While the water level of the Panchganga river at the Rajaram weir near Kolhapur city has dipped, vehicular traffic on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway however, remained closed as a stretch near Shiroli village in the district was under water,” District Guardian Minister Satej Patil said.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 2:36:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/uddhav-for-permanent-ndrf-teams-in-high-risk-districts/article35526635.ece

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