Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was forced to take a break from his Mahajanadesh Yatra on Wednesday, to review the flood situation in various parts of the state. Despite appeals from various political parties and civil society to stop his yatra, a mass outreach effort, he kept on with it. But when news of the sudden demise of former union minister Sushma Swaraj broke, he was forced to stop the yatra.
The state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil and the water resources minister Girish Mahajan reached Kolhapur to personally monitor flood relief operations. Fadnavis was expected to join the yatra after the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday. But Swaraj's passing away forced him to wind up the first phase of his tour three days earlier than planned.
Fadnavis directed the authorities to make adequate arrangements of food, drinking water and other essential items for the flood-affected in Kolhapur, Sangli, Raigad and Palghar districts, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
The western parts of the state have witnessed heavy rains in the last few days, causing flooding at various places. Nearly 53,000 people from Sangli district were shifted to safer places, while around 11,432 people were so far evacuated from Kolhapur and 3,000 from Raigad, the CMO said.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were deployed to assist the affected people, it said, adding that the Navy,
Army, Air Force and Coast Guard were also engaged in rescue and relief efforts. “22 teams of the NDRF have reached flood-affected areas and six teams were airlifted by Dornier helicopter,” the CM said.
The chief minister asked the water resources department to regularly share information on water discharge from dams and other projects with the Railways.
He also asked officials to make available medical teams in the affected districts in case of any requirement or demand from the local administration, and directed special care for children in flood-hit areas.
"All necessary items, such as medicines, should be made available on priority," the CMO's statement quoted Fadnavis as saying. He also directed an immediate survey of crop damage in the flood-affected areas.
Apart from Patil and Mahajan, the public works department minister Eknath Shinde, environment minister Ramdas Kadam and senior officials were present at the meeting. Collectors of Kolhapur, Sangli, Pune, Satara, Palghar, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts joined the meeting via video-conferencing and briefed Fadnavis about various relief measures being undertaken by them, the CMO said.