Heavy overnight rain in Maharashtra’s Konkan region has led to massive flooding in Chiplun city in Ratnagiri district.
Residents of Chiplun sought help from Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on Twitter, to relocate to safer places. Some even compared the situation to the catastrophic floods in Mumbai in 2005, in which at least 450 people had died.
Images and videos showed cars and buildings submerged in water. “Alarming water level in Chiplun,” a resident wrote on Twitter. “It has risen almost up to first floors. People stuck in their houses...Please send help.”
An official said that the water level at the Vashishti river bridge between Chiplun and Kamathe railway stations has risen above the danger mark, reported PTI. “In view of the safety of passengers, train services in this section are suspended temporarily,” he said.
Due to this, about 6,000 passengers were stranded on the route in the Ratnagiri district, Konkan Railway officials said. They said that nine trains have been regulated on the route. It means that the trains were either rerouted, short-terminated or cancelled.
Konkan Railway spokesperson Girish Karandikar said passengers in these trains were safe. “We have made arrangements to provide tea, snacks and water to all the stranded passengers,” Karandikar said.
Vinayak Raut, Shiv MP representing the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency, told The Indian Express that at least 5,000 villagers need to be shifted to safer areas as water has entered their homes. He demanded that the Centre should deploy helicopters, saying the region has become inaccessible due to flood waters.
The National Disaster Management Force has deployed nine teams in flood-hit parts of Maharashtra, PTI reported. One of these teams is expected to reach Chiplun by Thursday afternoon. Four teams have been deployed in Mumbai, two in Kolhapur, and one each in Thane and Palghar districts.
Incessant rain in Mumbai
In Mumbai, rain hampered long distance and local train services on Thursday, PTI reported. Since Sunday, the city has been battered by rainfall.
The India Meteorological Department has issued a red alert warning for Mumbai, predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall. “For July 21, we had already indicated chances of very heavy rainfall with orange alert,” a meteorologist with the IMD in Mumbai told the Hindustan Times. “This has been upgraded to red alert, indicating chances of extremely heavy rain, keeping in mind the synoptic situation.”
A red alert is issued to ask district authorities to “take action”, an orange alert to “stay prepared”, while yellow alert asks them to “be aware”.
The Thane district administration said that the Modak Sagar dam at Sahapur started overflowing in the early hours of Thursday, PTI reported. Two of its gates have been opened to release the water.
Officials said the rainfall record may cross the 2,000 millimetres in the next 24 hours in the financial capital. Last year, the city had recorded 1,469 mm of rain in July during the monsoon.
Meanwhile, at least six residents died due to heavy rains in the state, reported PTI. A five-year-old girl and two others drowned after Savitri and Ulhas rivers overflowed in the Mahad town and Karjat, respectively.
Rama Thackeray (53) and Darshana Dileep Dhutkar (50) from Palghar districts also drowned, District Collector Dr Manik Gursal said. Gursal added that 18-year-old Gautam Shirish Dhanwa died of electric shock. In Palghar tehsil, eight houses were partly damaged and a manor bridge went underwater. Eight houses were damaged in Dahanu town.
As many as 23 houses and a school were damaged after boulders crashed in Mokhada town of the district. In Ambiste town, three houses were damaged.
In Thane city, the body of 36-year-old Jeevan Owhal, who had fallen into a swollen stream on July 17, was found, an official said.
The suburban train services of the Central Railway were being operated only up to Titwala and Ambernath stations in Thane district from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai since Wednesday night. Central Railway’s Chief Spokesperson Shivaji Sutar said operations were suspended after tracks were washed out, boulders crashed and mudslides occurred at multiple locations due to the heavy overnight rain.
At 12.20 pm, the Central Railway suspended operations between Ambernath and Lonavala section due to flooding near Vangani station, located about 90 km from Mumbai. Officials told PTI that boulders also fell in the Khandala Ghat section.
Sutar said that efforts were underway to restore movement of trains in both the sections. “Special boulder trains, various machines, and labourers are working at the damaged spots,” he added.
Meanwhile, local train services on the Western Railway route resumed after being hit briefly due to “track changing point failure” in Mumbai’s Churchgate.