Sharad Pawar on Maharashtra floods: This must be declared a National Disaster

Updated: Aug 10, 2019, 08:59 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

In three days, due to floods in Pune and Western Maharashtra, 27 people died while five people went missing; NDRF rescue teams have been deployed to rescue the stranded people

NDRF teams rescuing stranded people during the floods. Pic Courtesy/ NDRF
NDRF teams rescuing stranded people during the floods. Pic Courtesy/ NDRF

Continues rains in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur has left these placed in a flood-like situation. On average, a total 142 per cent rainfall was received, while in Sangli 225 per cent, in Pune 168 per cent and Kolhapur 123 per cent. During rescue operations, women, children and senior citizens have been given preference.

In a rescue operation on Thursday from Sangli around 80,390 people were rescued, from Kolhapur around 97,102 people were shifted, Satara 7085 people rescued, from Pandharpur and Solapur, a total of 7749 2,05,591 people were shifted to a safe place.

In three days, due to floods in Pune and Western Maharashtra, 27 people died while five people went missing. From Sangli, 11 people, Kolhapur, two, seven people from Satara, six from Pune and one from Solapur died.

Local resident and Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana party member Sandep Rajoba said, "In Sangli the administration is not prepared. We called them to help us but they claimed that they are helpless. The boats were less and there was no coordination between the NDRF and defence personnel. Most of them were unaware of the geography of the area. We are requesting them to take help of local residents who can guide them but they remain unheard to our grievances."

Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaiskar said, “In Pune, Kolhapur and Sangli, red alert has been declared. In Kolhapur, seven NDRF teams consisting of 20 boats and 100 jawans are deployed along with 14 squads from the Navy. A total of around 491 jawans have been deployed. While in Sangli, eight NDRF teams with 28 boats 190 jawans and around 54 army jawans, as well as five Navy teams, have been deployed. “

A total of 204 roads have been blocked including the highway in Sangli (47), in Kolhapur (86), Satara (12), Pune (32) due to the floods. In Kolhapur, the situation is critical as most of the petrol pumps in the area are closed as there is no fuel. The ambulances and vehicle owners are running from pillar to post to arrange for diesel. 

National Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said, "The Administration has failed and fallen short to understand such a critical situation of floods in Maharashtra. Usually, we have seen in past, that the administration in Maharashtra is the first to act on this but it seems the authorities only know how to act during earthquakes and riots. I have witnessed such a critical issue for the first time where the administration is helpless. Such a situation is bad and must be declared a National Disaster. The Central government should help in aiding the Maharashtra state. Agriculture, infrastructure and housing in rural areas have suffered in a major way. The farmers waiting for the rains and seasonal crops on their paddy fields (sugarcane, pomegranate and others) have incurred huge losses. 100 per cent free loan for agriculture must be given. We at the NCP will personally be giving Rs 50 lakh to the CM relief fund. Our MP's and MLAs will hand over their one-month salaries, while our NCP team of doctors and youngsters will be on-ground to help people."

He added, "Post such an incident, the government and authorities must retrospect the issue and need to observe and study in-depth their loopholes." National Disaster Response Force has appealed not to fall prey to rumours of few boats are getting punctured.

NDRF officers said, "It has come to our notice that there are some reports about NDRF boats getting punctured or being faulty. First of all, let us assure you that NDRF teams are putting in their best efforts during these rescue ops. Some boats were punctured as they are plying in unknown waters with poles, debris, tin shades etc which are causing punctures." He added, "But these punctures are being repaired immediately within 15-30 minutes and boats are relaunched for operation."

Post the incident of a landslide in Pune-based Malin Village which took place five years ago, the Maharashtra state began a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) along with local youth helping people to move.

Speaking to Mid-day, SDRF officials said, "We have finished our task at Kolhapur and are now directed to go to Sangli but the roads are blocked and there is no other route to use. We are now waiting to reach there by planes."

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Maharashtra floods: Rescue and relief operations carried out in Kolhapur, Sangli and Raigad
  • 1/12

    Kolhapur, Sangli, Raigad, Thane, Pune and several districts of Maharashtra have been reeling under flood due to incessant rainfall since the beginning of August. With the flood-like situation in several parts of Maharashtra, rescue and relief operation are underway in Kolhapur, Sangli, and Raigad which are heavily affected

  • 2/12

    In order to tackle the situation in the flood-affected districts of Maharashtra, a large number of troops from the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Coast Guard have been deployed to facilitate rescue and relief operations in concert with the NDRF and SDRF.

  • 3/12

    In pic: Indian Naval teams prepare for deployment in flooded areas of Sangli, Kolhapur, and Raigad in Maharashtra

  • 4/12

    The Maharashtra Government has opened a Joint Operations Center at Dakshin Maharashtra and Goa Sub Area, Pune for coordinating the relief and rescue operations which are being carried out by the armed forces in Maharashtra, and also the states of Kerala and Karnataka which have been hit badly by the rains.

  • 5/12

    In an unfortunate tragedy, a boat carrying over 30 people during the rescue operations in Maharashtra capsized, leaving 10 people, including a toddler dead and six people missing. The incident took place on Thursday morning at the backwaters of the Krishna river in Bramhanal village in Palus taluka, which is around 25 kilometres away from the Sangli district in Maharashtra.

  • 6/12

    Ten teams of the Indian Army from Mumbai are also on the ground for the rescue and relief operations in the affected areas. The teams have been specially deployed to rescue people from the flood-hit regions of Kolhapur, Sangli and Raigad district.

  • 7/12

    In pic: Indian Army personnel carry a man through the flooded streets of Sangli during rescue operations in the region

  • 8/12

    According to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), more than 3,000 people in flood-affected Kolhapur district and 2900 people from flood-affected Sangli district were rescued on Tuesday (August 6).

  • 9/12

    In pic: An Indian Army personnel carries a newborn baby rescued from the flood-hit region of Sangli district.

  • 10/12

    On Thursday (August 8), Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded deployment of five additional National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams in the affected regions of Maharashtra after he conducted an aerial survey of the areas

  • 11/12

    In pic: Indian Army personnel prepare a boat before deployment in the flooded areas of Sangli and its adjoining areas. 

  • 12/12

    In pic: A birds-eye view of the footage of the flood-hit areas of Sangli district in Maharashtra from Indian Air Force chopper Mi-17. Pic/Faizan Khan

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