Kolhapur, Sangli face renewed flood threat as heavy rain batters western Maharashtra

The rising water level in the Panchanganga river in Kolhapur on Sunday.  

The spectre of floods hovers once more over Kolhapur and Sangli districts in western Maharashtra following incessant rain in the catchment areas throughout last week. This has resulted in a massive discharge of water from major dams, spiking the water level in the Panchganga river, which courses through Kolhapur, and the Krishna river that passes through Sangli.

Residents living in the vicinity of these rivers in the two districts have been asked to move to safer zones by the district administrations.

On Monday, Koyna dam (in neighbouring Satara district) was almost filled to the brim with its present water stock at 103.08 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft), while Warna dam in Kolhapur is filled to capacity, having a water stock of 34.05 tmcft.

Officials said despite showers considerably reducing in intensity on Monday, the discharge was still on from all major dams, including Koyna (45,681 cusecs till Monday evening), Radhanagari (4,256 cusecs), and Warna (13,368 cusecs).

But an ongoing discharge of 2.5 lakh cusecs from Almatti dam in north Karnataka (adjoining Kolhapur) has done much to stave off fears of flooding in Sangli and Kolhapur for the moment.

But the authorities are not taking any chances with both districts yet to fully recover from a deluge which cost at least 35 human lives and killed hundreds of livestock besides damaging property and ruining crops to the tune of crores of rupees.

Four National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams from Pune are on standby in both these districts, with two deployed in Kolhapur (one each in Shirol and Jaysinghpur tehsils) and the other two in Sangli (one each in Islampur and Miraj taluks).

“Our teams had left for Sangli and Kolhapur on September 6 owing to heavy rain in the catchment areas there, which led to discharge of water from all major dams. The necessity for evacuation has not arisen yet as the water has not exceeded danger levels. Moreover, the rain has considerably reduced today,” Sachidanand Gawade, spokesperson, NDRF, said.

Even then, more than 750 persons from 350-odd families and hundreds of livestock, mainly in Shirol and Karvir tehsils, were relocated to safer areas on Sunday, while another 20-odd families in Sangli district were moved on Monday, according to Kolhapur and Sangli district administrations.

The rise in the river water levels has caused 24 roads in Kolhapur — nine inter-State routes and 15 inter-district roads — to shut down for traffic.

“While the Panchganga’s level had exceeded its danger mark, it remained constant at 39.10 feet at Rajaram Weir for the better part of the day. Currently, around 70 weirs on the Panchganga, Dudhganga, Warna, Tulshi, Kadvi and other rivers in Kolhapur are submerged,” an official from the Kolhapur district administration said.

After a brief respite for a fortnight following the floods which ravaged Sangli, the Krishna has shot up to an alarming 33 feet in the past week from 12 feet.

“Despite the river’s danger mark being 45 feet, there is a fear of flooding again in low-lying areas even at 33 feet. Hence, the district administration has asked people living in these areas to remain on alert,” an official at Sangli collectorate said.

Meanwhile, steady and continuous showers have lashed Pune district for the last 48 hours, prompting irrigation department officials to discharge water from Khadakwasla dam at regular intervals.

A discharge of water at the rate of 18,491 cusecs from the dam continued throughout Sunday and the better part of Monday, prompting a sharp rise in the level of the Mutha river.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 12:53:10 AM |

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