At least four persons were reported killed as torrential rains pounded Maharashtra on Thursday for the second time in five days, hitting the coastal Konkan and western parts severely, officials said.
Though Mumbai was largely spared, heavy rains lashed coastal districts of Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg and the western districts of Satara, and Kolhapur.
Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Parbhani, and Solapur also saw torrential rain, with the state deploying the NDRF, the SDRF, and Indian Coast Guard boats and helicopters, while Indian Navy teams were kept on standby.
Several towns and cities like Bhiwandi, Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Kalyan, Dombivali, Chiplun, Khed, Sawantwadi, Mangaon, Mandangad, Kudal, Mahad, and others were inundated in three to six feet water, and higher in some low-lying areas.
Flood waters rushed into shops, offices, homes and ground floor flats, while around half a dozen homes were damaged or collapsed, many big and small vehicles were fully submerged or washed away, and people remained trapped in their homes for hours.
The latest disaster came as the state was barely recovering from the Sunday floods which claimed more than 33 lives in Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region areas.
Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that two NDRF teams have been rushed to rescue people stuck in floods waters in Chiplun to safer locations, as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed officials to prevent any loss of lives.
While one person was reported to be killed in Raigad, three others lost their lives in Palghar in rain-related incidents, details of which were awaited.
Moving swiftly, the NDRF and SDRF teams, along with local agencies, shifted over 5,000 marooned people in towns of Chiplun, Mandangad, and Khed, besides many other villages to safer areas.
Several big and small rivers, dams, lakes ponds and other water bodies in these districts were above the danger levels or overflowing, and the situation worsened with dams discharging excess waters, inundating roads, railway lines bridges, agricultural farms, and fields.
Officials said that Ratnagiri bore the brunt of the rains in the past 24 hours with many towns and villages getting waterlogged from 3 a.m. onwards, with the high tide in the Arabian Sea pushing back the flood waters in the coastal areas.
At least 27 villages in Ratnagiri’s Mangaon were cut off with all approach state and local roads, bridges flooded as local rivers inundated the region, and the local authorities were trying to send rescue teams.
In Thane’s Kalyan town, flood waters of the rains and the local Thane Creek inundated large parts, and around 1,200 buffalos trapped in a dairy farm were rescued safely this morning by the stable owners.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab and Wadditwar said that the priority was to rescue people marooned or living in the low-lying regions to safety as scenes similar to the raging floods of 2005, 2007 and 2019 were witnessed again.
Traffic was at a standstill for several hours on the Mumbai-Goa Highway, and disrupted on the Mumbai-Nashik highway, the Western Ghats, and other state highways and interior roads, stranding thousands of vehicles.
Wadettiwar said Coast Guard helicopters and speedboats have been dispatched to some of the worst-hit areas and arrangements been made to provide and food packets and medicines to the affected people as the situation was very grim.
Long-distance trains on the Central Railway network were disrupted in Thane, Nashik, Pune, Kolhapur and other sections with trains stranded on flooded railway tracks at various locations.
CR Spokesperson Shivaji Sutar said that stranded passengers were taken to state buses to safer locations and food provided to them.
Several parts have recorded unprecedented rains in the past 24 hours, with Mahabaleshwar hillstation in Satara notching 480 mm, the highest in 45 years, and Matheran recording 330 mm rains, while many other areas saw rains in excess of 200 mm, creating panic.
In view of the situation, Shiv Sena MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency Vinayak Parab, currently in New Delhi for the parliament session is rushing to Konkan, while other senior party leaders from Mumbai and other parts have reached there.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Leader of Opposition in Council, Pravin Darekar attacked the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) for failing to anticipate the magnitude of the monsoon disasters in the Konkan region and said NDRF teams should be permanently stationed there during the rainy season.