Mumbai: It’s usually a 6-hour 20 minute-long journey, but for in the passengers travelling on Vadodara Express 12928 on Tuesday, it was a nightmare they will never forget. They were stranded in the train since 4 am on Tuesday due to incessant rains that have hit Mumbai and the surrounding areas. Stuck without air-conditioning, food or water, it was the kindness of residents of Shivam society in Nallasopara (east), who gave them water, tea, milk and food that saw them brave the ordeal before being rescued.
A joint operation by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the police and fire brigade personnel saw around 2,000 passengers of two Mumbai-bound trains — Shatabdi Express and Vadodara Express — that got stuck between Nallasopara and Vasai stations of the Western Railway due to waterlogging on Tuesday, a Palghar district official said. The Vadodara Express which departed Vadodara Junction on Monday night was expected to reach its destination Mumbai Central at 4:45 am on Tuesday.
Palghar district residential collector Navnath Jare said, “Water level between Nallasopara and Vasai stations rose to more than two metre due to heavy rain and a high tide on Tuesday morning.” “We have called an NDRF team comprising 43 personnel along with six boats to the spot. They are helping personnel of the police and fire brigade,” Jare said. He said some passengers were stuck in Vadodara Express since 4 on Tuesday morning. “As of now, we have rescued almost all 2,000 passengers from both the trains,” the officer said. Palghar district had received extremely heavy rainfall of 240 mm from 8.30 am on Monday to 8:30 on Tuesday morning. Jare said that more than 30 state transport (ST) buses arranged to rescue the stranded passengers broke down due to water-logging in Vasai and neighbouring areas.
The NDRF team and local authorities are taking all the rescued passengers to Vasai station from where are being shifted in local trains, he said, adding that special buses have also been arranged to transport these passengers. Another district official said that more than 400 people, who were marooned in various villages in Palghar district due to waterlogging, have been rescued by fire brigade teams, the police and local people since Monday. Areas like Vasai Mithagar (salt pan), Bhoidapada, Wagralpada, Rajavali were inundated due to incessant rain that pummelled the district in the last two days.
Among the rescued people was a pregnant woman who needed urgent medical attention, the official said, adding that the woman was rescued from Mithagar area in a boat and was shifted to hospital. Various authorities have rescued 400 people from Mithaghar, 66 from Manickpur area in Vasai town, and around 60 people from Rajavali village on Tuesday, said the spokesperson of the Palghar Police. “They are shifted in safe shelters like schools, colleges, temples and community centres. Local authorities are providing food to them,” he said.
The electrical sub-station in Vasai is under water due to which power supply in the town has been affected. Around three lakh residents are affected due to the power shutdown, a district official said, adding the lack of electricity is hampering rescue operations as authorities cannot operate the equipment that run on power. In a multi-agency operation, authorities of the state disaster control room were tackling coordination.