Maharashtra: Death toll rises to 43

Kolhapur: With three more bodies being found on Monday, the death toll in the floods in western Maharashtra has risen to 43 and three persons are missing.

The state has been reeling under one of its worst floods so far, with extensive damage in Mumbai and its suburbs, Thane district and Pune among other places, while Sangli and Kolhapur have been the worst-hit.

However, as the situation is slowly improving with the receding of flood waters, the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway has been thrown open only to vehicles carrying essentials for the flood-affected.

Meanwhile, the IMD has forecast heavy rains, said Pune divisional commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar at a press conference on Monday.

Further, he informed, "Two bodies were found in Satara on Sunday night while one was found in Kolhapur. Three people from Sangli and Kolhapur are still said to be missing. So far, we have rescued and shifted 4.74 lakh residents."

Although the IMD has predicted very heavy rains, in the last two days there has been no rain in either district. The government has also announced Rs 5,000 as flood relief per afflicted family. This money will be sent to 313 ATMs, Mhaisekar said.

Speaking of the steps being taken to allay fears of further floods, he said, "5.70 lakh cusecs of water has been released from Almatti dam, helping the floods recede in Sangli and Kolhapur."

Since the water began receding, of the 31 roads in Kolhapur, 15 have been opened, while in Sangli, of 45 roads, 15 are now open. The water level in Sangli is 5 feet and 2 inches above the danger mark, while in Kolhapur, it is five feet above the danger mark.

"However, there still are 12 villages in Sangli that continue to be flooded. Fifteen villages in Kolhapur and 16 in Solapur are still flooded. We have shifted all the residents to safer places," said Mhaisekar.

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