Kolhapur: Incessant rains in Maharashtra's Kolhapur district caused flooding in several low-lying areas on Tuesday, following which 10,000 people were evacuated and power supply to over 85,000 consumers was suspended, officials said.
The national highway between south Kolhapur and Belgaum in Karnataka was shut for vehicular traffic due to water-logging in the area, Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh told PTI.
"On Monday, we closed one side of the national highway. However, as rains increased, we had to shut the entire national highway in the early hours of Tuesday," he said.
Kolhapur has been witnessing "unprecedented" rains, causing a flood-like situation in several tehsils, he said. "On Monday, we shifted more than 4,500 people from low-lying areas, and today, over 6,000 people have been evacuated from several villages," Deshmukh said.
Power supply to around 85,523 consumers was temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure, an official from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) said.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), fire brigade, local administration and police have been roped in for help as some rivers in the district are flowing above the danger mark, Deshmukh said.
"An Army column (comprising around 60 personnel) has been summoned from Pune. They are likely to join the rescue operation in the district soon," he added. The district administration has also sought help from the Navy in the rescue operations, another official said.
An official at the collectorate said the situation this time was worse than 2005, when heavy rains pounded Mumbai and other areas of western Maharashtra.
Flood waters entered many areas of Kolhapur, including the collectorate office, he said. The water level of the Panchganga river in Kolhapur crossed the danger mark of 49 feet. "It was flowing at 52 feet level on Tuesday," he said.
Due to incessant rains in western Maharashtra, the district administrations of Pune, Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Tuesday, sources said. Some parts of Satara and Sangli were also flooded as the water level of the Krishna river rose following heavy rains, another official said.
Several thousand cusecs (cubic foot per second) of water was being released from Koyna and Radhanagari dams, leading to rise in the water levels of the Krishna and Panchganga rivers, respectively, he said. The Krishna river further flows into north Karnataka where the Almatti dam is built over it.
he water resources departments of both Maharashtra and Karnataka have in joint coordination increased the release of water from Almatti to 3 lakh cusecs to ease the situation, he added.