States

Panchganga in spate: spectre of flood looms large over Kolhapur

Two gates of the Radhanagari dam were opened following rise in river water levels owing to heavy showers.
Shoumojit Banerjee Pune 07 August 2020 02:36 IST
Updated: 07 August 2020 02:36 IST

Two more NDRF teams reach district

The spectre of floods loomed over Kolhapur district with water levels in the Panchganga river crossing the danger mark on Thursday after heavy showers over the past two days.

The river crossed its danger mark of 43 ft. at Rajaram Bridge and is flowing at 43.2 ft. till late afternoon.

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In addition to two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) already stationed in the district since late July, two more teams of 22 jawans each reached Kolhapur on Thursday morning. While one team will remain in the city, the other has reached Shirol taluk, said Kolhapur district authorities. Last year, unprecedented rain wreaked havoc in western Maharashtra, especially in Kolhapur and Sangli districts, resulting in the death of 60 people.

Workers trying to clear the road after a landslide near Pedder Road on Thursday morning.

According to the district administration, 102 barrages have now gone under water. Gaganbawda tehsil continued to be pummelled by heavy showers on Thursday, recording 243 mm rain in a 24-hour period.

After Gaganbawda, Radhanagari (152 mm) and Chandgad received (145.17 mm) the highest rain since yesterday. However, in spite of intense showers throughout Wednesday, the rain took a break to Kolhapur on Thursday morning, with the sun coming out for a while to offer the beleaguered residents of the district some measure of respite. “We are well-prepared to tackle any emergency. Fifty-five boats are in harness while four NDRF teams are in readiness in the district,” said Kolhapur’s Guardian Minister Satej Patil, appealing to people to adhere to the evacuation directives and move to safer zones with their livestock.

Urging people not to crowd needlessly at places at a time when the district was coping with the twin onslaught of heavy rain and the Covid-19 pandemic, he said he had directed authorities to arrange for adequate medical facilities for the residents of the 18 most-afflicted wards who were being shifted to safer zones in high ground.

By evening, two sluice gates of the Radhanagari dam, which had filled to more than 70% of its capacity were opened, with a discharge of 2,800 cusecs of water, said authorities, adding that a massive discharge of 31,922 cusecs of water from the Almatti dam was on as well.

At the same time, irrigation department authorities said that discharge from the upstream Koyna dam in Satara district would commence only after it was filled to 80 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of its 105 tmcft capacity. “Right now, Koyna’s capacity is 67.27 tmcft. In comparison to the very heavy rainfall received earlier in the week, the intensity has been comparatively less in last few hours. So, we will begin discharging water only when the capacity exceeds 80 tmcft,” said an irrigation department official.

The dam had received 11 tmcft water in barely 36 hours due to — jumping from 56 tmcft to 67 tmcft — owing primarily to the tremendous heavy rainfall in the dam’s catchment areas, especially in the hill station of Mahabaleshwar which received as much as 13 cm rainfall over the last 24 hours.

Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, through videoconference with Mr. Patil and senior members of the administration, reviewed the situation in Kolhapur. Mr. Thackeray said 16 NDRF teams were stationed throughout the State including four in Kolhapur.

“Besides the Panchganga river, the Kodavli in Ratnagiri and the Kundalika in Raigad are flowing above their danger levels. There is a need for the authorities in these three districts to remain on high alert,” Mr. Thackeray said.

Pune district, too, continued to receive heavy showers, filling the Khadakwasla dam, Pune city's potable water lifeline, to its 1.97 tmcft capacity.

The showers in the past two days have seen the collective water stocks of the four major dams in Pune district — Khadakwasla, Panshet, Varasgaon and Temghar — rise to over 45% of the cumulative storage capacity of 29.15 Ttmcft.

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