News Flash – 7 August 2019

National News



Flood Maroons Kolhapur; NH4 to Bengaluru & Roads to Goa cut off

HIGHWAY TRAVAILS: NH4 went under knee-deep water near Tawade hotel, just outside Kolhapur city.



Kolhapur: Kolhapur virtually turned into an island on Tuesday with the swollen Panchaganga river disgorging its water all around the city. The water level in the river touched 54ft by 7pm on Tuesday, way above the danger mark of 43ft and the highest recorded level till date. All roads in and around the city, including national highway 4 connecting Mumbai and Bengaluru via Pune, are under water and shut for traffic. The national highway has never been closed for traffic before this. Police have put up barricades 2km ahead of the city on the bridge near Tawade hotel. All roads passing through the city and leading to Goa and Konkan have been closed. Vehicles going from Pune or Mumbai to Bengaluru have been stopped near Satara and the Karnataka government has stopped vehicles coming to Kolhapur at the Kognoi toll plaza near Belagavi. Long traffic lines were seen at several places between Satara district and Kagal in Kolhapur. The Mumbai-Goa highway (NH66) is already closed because of several landslides and the Jagbudi river in Ratnagiri spilling its banks, affecting connectivity to Konkan and Goa from Mumbai.



Brace for Heavy Rainfall today; Red Alert Sounded for Outskirts


Mumbai: After a two-day lull, rainfall activity in Mumbai and the rest of the state is set to intensify from Wednesday, the weather bureau has said. While heavy rain is expected in Mumbai, for adjoining areas like Palghar and Raigad, a red alert has been given for the day after, with a forecast of extremely heavy rain at isolated places. On Tuesday, very light rainfall was recorded in Mumbai, though adjoining Thane received a few rains spells. Rainfall measured by the Santacruz observatory was 0.6mm in the 12 hours ending at 8.30pm on Tuesday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that a depression over northwest Bay of Bengal is likely to deepen in the next 24 hours. IMD officials said that this deep depression, in association with an active Arabian Sea, will cause isolated extremely heavy rainfall over the Ghat areas of Madhya Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa, among other regions, over the next three to four days. “The low pressure which had formed in the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a depression and models are indicating that it is going to intensify further to deep depression. Owing to this, weather patterns are changing and we have accordingly given out detailed weather warnings,” said K S Hosalikar, deputy director-general (western region), IMD.



The intensifying of the depression is subsequently expected to move westward from Wednesday to Friday. “There is very likely to be enhancement of rainfall over parts of the Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra, leading too heavy to very heavy rain, with extremely heavy rain at isolated places, in these regions,” said a weather official. The IMD also said that strong winds with speeds reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, are likely to prevail along and off the Maharashtra-Goa coast during the next five days and hence fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea during this period. Triple-digit rainfall continued to lash parts of the state on Tuesday, with 47 locations in Maharashtra recording from 100mm to more than 300mm of rainfall. Mumbai and adjoining areas, especially Thane, Kalyan and Palghar, witnessed heavy rain activity all through the past weekend. Looking at flood-like situations in many parts of the city, Monday was declared a holiday in schools and colleges.



No respite from Highway Flooding soon, as Rain to continue till Friday

Motorists and passengers on NH4, which connects Mumbai with Bengaluru, after it was closed on Monday night.



Mumbai: Traffic between Mumbai and Bangalore or Goa has ground to a halt as all highways connecting these places are either flooded or blocked by landslides at several points. The old Mumbai-Goa highway (NH66) is already closed because of several minor and major landslides and also because Jagbudi river in Ratnagiri’s Khed taluka has spilled over, shutting connectivity to Konkan and Goa from Mumbai. On NH4, motorists have been asked to park at safe spots till rainwater recedes. Around 500 travellers, mainly from Pune, who were heading for the Konkan and Goa, were stranded near Radhanagari in Kolhapur district because of flooding. They were given food, water and other essentials by locals. Those travelling by bus were given shelter at the local state transport (ST) stand. Meanwhile, the chief minister’s office said the state government had moved six teams with Navy boats to Kolhapur by air. Air force helicopters are expected to reach soon. So far, 7,293 people in the city and district, 6,526 people in Sangli and 598 families in Satara have been moved to safety.



Police in Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur have deployed additional forces, particularly near toll plazas, to advise travellers to stop at safer places like hotels and dhabas. Authorities are also asking travellers not to use alternative routes as incessant rain in three districts have submerged roads and bridges at several places. However, with the IMD forecasting heavy rainfall till August 9, there seems to be no end in sight to the flooding. The Kolhapur district collector has ordered closure of schools and colleges till Thursday. The flooding of Kolhapur city severely affected the supply of essential commodities. Water supply remained shut for the second consecutive day and over 1 lakh residents of the district were without power supply on Tuesday. It remained unclear when these services would be resumed. The city’s major dairy co-operative, Gokul, said they would not be able to supply milk and other products to Mumbai and Pune till the situation normalise.



Blaze kills J&K Woman, News Hits Curfew Hurdle


New Delhi: Soha Butt from Srinagar had shifted into the Zakir Nagar apartment of her sister Saba a decade ago. On Tuesday morning, the two women and Soha’s husband, Umar, panicked as smoke engulfed their house and jumped from the terrace. Soha, 23, died on the spot, while Saba and Umar are undergoing treatment in hospital. The family of the Butts in Srinagar could not be immediately informed because of the suspension of communication services there. A relative of the two women said that they had been trying to inform the Butts’ family members about the incident, but after all efforts proved futile, a friend decided to take a morning flight to Srinagar on Tuesday. Other relatives and friends will fly Soha’s body to Kashmir on Wednesday. Soha had married Umar and had also found a job in Delhi. Umar was a garment retailer in the capital. Family members said he hadn’t yet been told about the death of his wife.



Meanwhile, the brother-in-law of victim Atthar Khan reported, “A cousin received his plea to save his family on their family WhatsApp group. When no help arrived, Atthar, his wife and daughters jumped down from their room,” he said. Other relatives said the family could have been saved had they got some assistance. One of them added that Atthar’s last message asking for help would haunt them forever. Mehraj Akhtar, relative of 8-year-old Adyan, who died of hypoxia, said, “He was the son of my cousin, Faiz, whose has also suffered severe burn injuries. The family lived on the third floor and tried to scramble towards the terrace but collapsed on the way.” He requested police and the fire department to conduct drills to acquaint the local firemen thoroughly with the area’s layout for timely intervention in cases like this.



Red Alert: Already Reeling, District Staff Scramble to Cope

CUP OVERFLOWS: Unkal lake, located between the twin cities of Hubballi and Dharwad, is overflowing for the first time in a decade following heavy rain in Dharwad.



Bengaluru: Struggling with drought and a below-normal monsoon until last week, Karnataka is pretty much in for a rain bounty. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday issued a three-day red alert for seven districts in coastal and south interior Karnataka. This means some areas in these districts will experience heavy, very heavy and, perhaps, extremely heavy rainfall of over 200mm within the next 24-hours. The alert extends to Kodagu, which is still recovering from floods and landslides from August last year. The havoc in Kodagu had claimed 17 lives besides destroying hundreds of acres of coffee estates, houses and roads. Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Uttara Kannada, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada are the other districts on alert. The warning has come as a challenge for officials even as several districts in north Karnataka continue to reel under floods caused by heavy rain in neighbouring Maharashtra and massive quantities of water being released into Krishna river.



On Tuesday too, several districts in the state including Uttara Kannada, Shivamogga, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Belagavi experienced heavy rainfall. CS Patil, director in charge, IMD Bengaluru, told TOI there are chances of flooding and landslides in areas where heavy rainfall has been predicted. “The respective district administrations have been told to evacuate people residing in areas along rivers and downstream from reservoirs,” he said. Patil, also a senior scientist at IMD, said heavy rain over Karnataka is a result of a well-marked low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal and adjoining coastal areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal. “This has concentrated into a depression which is centred over northwest Bay of Bengal off north Odisha-West Bengal coasts,” he said. “The weather system is expected to bring more rain over the state over the next few days”.

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