Lakhs of people have been stranded following the flood in Kolhapur and Sangli districts of Maharashtra. The downpour in the past three days has increased water level of all the rivers flowing through these districts. The pictures and videos of the cattle drowning in the flood have been doing rounds on social media.
Amid this crisis, the state government has failed in providing adequate relief in the affected areas. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is touring the state for his political yatra ahead of the Assembly polls in the state. This has angered the people further.
Meanwhile, the flood in Kolhapur and Sangli has also increased tensions between Maharashtra and its Southern neighbour Karnataka. Both the districts are on the border of Karnataka and release of water from the Alamatti dam has become a reason for conflict. Krishna, Koyna and Panchaganga are major rivers from these districts, and all three have crossed the danger level. This has created havoc in both the districts.
The Gaganbavada teshil of Kolhapur district has recorded the highest amount of rain – 328 mm. For Bhudargad, it was 219 mm and for Radhanagari, 208 mm. This area also comes under the range of the Alamatti dam. The Maharashtra government is pressurising the Karnataka government to increase the flow of Alamatti. According to guardian minister Chandrakant Patil, Maharashtra CM has spoken to Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa in this regard.
A village called Prayag Chikhali in Kolhapur district has been almost completely washed off by the flood, according to reports. Almost 3,000 persons remain stranded in parts of this village. According to a local journalist, Shahaji Patil, many villagers are missing in flood. "This has been happening for the last three days. Electricity is cut off. Thousands are stranded and many homes are under water, but there is no help from the government. There was a flood in 2005 also, but the current situation is horrible in terms of help from the government," he said.
According to local newspapers, 40,000 people are stranded in Walava teshil, 5,000 in Kolhapur city, 25,000 in Shirol tehshil, 3,000 in Ichalkaranji tehsil, so far. Now, teams of Indian Army along with seven teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) have reached Shirol, Walava and Ichalkaranji. People are being rescued using boats from Kolhapur city as well as Shirol.
Both the districts – Sangli and Kolhapur – are the hubs of sugar and milk production in Maharashtra. So, these industries have taken a toll in the state, following the flood. "People are trying to save their lives. There are reports that they have left their cattle at the cattle yards itself, as there is no help to transport them to the safer locations," said Vinayakrao Patil, former chairman of Mahananada, state's government-owned dairy brand. Gokul, which is Maharashtra's biggest brand of dairy products has declared that the milk collection will be closed for some days now. There is about 6.5 lakh litres of milk ready at the homes of the farmers, but due to flood, it is likely to go to waste.
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