The roads connecting Kolhapur to Panhala and Gaganbawda were closed while some roads in Shirol taluka were also closed. At least nine patches on state highways and 25 district roads had to be closed down due to waterlogging
A flood alert has been issued in Kolhapur district after the Panchganga river crossed its danger level on Thursday afternoon following heavy rainfall in its catchment area over the last two days. People and livestock from the villages located in low-lying, flood-prone areas are being evacuated to safer places, said officials.
A total of six teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) — four in Kolhapur and one each in Sangli and Satara — have been deployed on Wednesday. Kolhapur district disaster management officials said that some time after 3 pm on Thursday, the water level of the Panchganga river at Rajaram weir touched the 43-feet mark, considered the danger level.
The roads connecting Kolhapur to Panhala and Gaganbawda were closed while some roads in Shirol taluka were also closed. At least nine patches on state highways and 25 district roads had to be closed down due to waterlogging. Over 4,000 people in 23 villages along the river banks in the district are being evacuated. More than 92 dams in Kolhapur remain under water as rains continue to batter the district for the third consecutive day.
Rising water levels have also led to two gateways of the Radhanagari dam being opened to release excess water. Discharge has also started from Vir and Warna dams in the region. Irrigation department officials have assured that ample warning will be issued before water from Koyna river is released.
The southern door of the famous shrine at Nrushinawadi was submerged on Thursday morning.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao said, “There has been heavy rainfall in the catchment area of Panchganga river and it is still on. The district administration has been on high alert… the water level of Panchganga touched the 43-feet danger mark on Thursday. Some villages in flood-prone areas are already being evacuated. We appeal to local residents, especially those living in low-lying areas, to be on alert. We are prepared for any contingency, and appeal people not to panic,” Kolhapur is one of the five districts under Pune Division.
Rao confirmed that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is scheduled to review the developing situation in western Maharashtra on Friday.
Asked about the situation in Sangli district, Rao said, “As of now, there is no cause of concern in Sangli and the water level in Koyna river is being monitored. The district administration is prepared.”
Between August 1 and August 10 last year, extremely heavy rainfall in a short span in south-western Maharashtra had led to increased water levels in rivers, causing massive flooding. Over the next few days, areas in Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli and parts of Pune saw large areas flooded, houses and roads damaged and lakhs of people displaced. The Mumbai-Bangalore National Highway was closed for traffic for days because of flooding near Kolhapur. Along with NDRF, rescue and relief operations were conducted by the Army, Navy and the Air Force.
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