Flood hits Western Maharashtra 

Health minister Eknath Shinde has sent medical teams to the flood-affected areas. DH photo

Nearly 10,000 to 20,000 people were evacuated to safety from flood-affected areas as heavy rainfall continued to pound Kolhapur and neighbouring districts of Western Maharashtra on Tuesday.

Road and rail traffic was badly hit because of the flood situation. The three armed forces - Army, Navy, Air Force, besides the Coast Guard and NDRF are involved in massive rescue operations and are helping out the local administration.

Barring Solapur, the four Western Maharashtra districts of Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Pune have received over 100% rainfall of the season's total.

Besides Western Maharashtra, twin districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in Konkan region and Nashik district in North Maharashtra are also receiving good rainfall.

Rains to continue 

According to Pune division's divisional commissioner Deepak Maiskar, four of the five Western Maharashtra districts received more than 100% rainfall. While Pune topped with 120%, drought-affected Solapur lagged with 78%. 

In the division, more than 5,000 persons have been moved to safety

With the flood situation in Kolhapur and neighbouring areas worsening, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke to his Karnataka counterpart B S Yediyurappa and requested discharge from the Almatti dam.

Fadnavis, who is currently in Yavatmal district, reviewed the flood situation on Tuesday and spoke to chief secretary Ajoy Mehta. Fadnavis also spoke to defence minister Rajnath Singh and briefed him of the emerging situation.

'Don't panic'

"We are facing an unusual situation. This is the worst-ever floods in Kolhapur. Please do not panic. We are taking people to safety," said revenue minister Chandrakant Patil,  who is the guardian minister of Kolhapur.

In the district, power supply to over 80,000 consumers was suspended as a precautionary measure.

Health minister Eknath Shinde has sent medical teams to the flood-affected areas. Meanwhile, several important roads were affected and the Pune-Bengaluru highway was shut as a precautionary measure. The traffic on the Mumbai-Goa highway and Kolhapur-Satara highway too was affected.

Cutting short his MahaJanadeshYatra, Fadnavis is expected to airdash to Mumbai and hold an emergency Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. According to the latest information, Panchganga is flowing above the danger level. At the Radhanagari dam, electricity production had to be stopped temporarily.

Two NDRF teams are coordinating rescue operations and more teams are on their way.

Army, Navy, Coast Guard also present in the area to assist rescue and relief operations. Air Force helicopters are also being sent.

"Almost 1500 families evacuated so far and administration is taking care of the situation. In Sangli one NDRF team is deployed and another on way," the CMO said.

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