Water recedes in Kolhapur, NH-4 likely to open

Continuous discharge of water from Almatti dam in Karnataka brought down the water level of the Panchganga river in Kolhapur. (Reuters file photo)

Water has started receding in Maharashtra's flood-hit Kolhapur district and the Mumbai- Bengaluru national highway, which has been closed due to water-logging for last six days, is likely to open on Monday, officials said.

Continuous discharge of water from Almatti dam in Karnataka brought down the water level of the Panchganga river in Kolhapur where it was flowing above the danger mark.

Kolhapur and Sangli districts have been battling unprecedented floods since the last eight days following heavy rains in Konkan and western parts of the state where 40 people have lost their lives in the deluge.

The Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway No. 4 has been shut for last six days due to flooding and is likely to open for vehicular movement on Monday once the water recedes, an official said.

Thousands of heavy vehicles have been stuck on both sides of the highway since the flooding occurred there, he noted.

"The highway will be opened for vehicular traffic only after the water recedes completely," Kolhapur's Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh said.

According to information available at the district collectorate, the Panchganga river's water level came down by almost one foot overnight, but it was still flowing at the danger mark of 49 feet.

"Rains have stopped in the Panchganga's catchment areas but some discharge is still going on from dams into the river. Once the water level goes down further, roads in Kolhapur will be opened for vehicular movement," an official at the collectorate said.

Over five lakh cusec of water was being discharged from Almatti dam on the Krishna river in neighbouring Karnataka to ease the flood situation in western Maharashtra, he added.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas in Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur districts.

Around 105 teams of the Army, Air Force, Navy, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Coast Guard, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), police and local officials were carrying out rescue operations in the western Maharashtra region, officials said.

While 54 rescue teams are deployed in Kolhapur, 51 teams are working in Sangli, they said.

Nearly 4.48 lakh people were so far evacuated from flood-hit areas across the state, including 4.04 lakh from Kolhapur and Sangli. They were shifted to 372 temporary camps and shelters, a senior state official said on Sunday.

Rescuers, including the NDRF and military personnel, received kudos from locals for the relief work.

Some women and girls tied 'rakhis' on the wrists of jawans of the Navy, Army, and NDRF on Sunday.

Several members of the Muslim community from Sangli and Kolhapur have decided to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha on Monday without fanfare.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said each flood-hit family in the state will be given Rs 5,000 cash while rest of the financial assistance will be deposited in their respective bank accounts. 

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