Bharat Shamrao Vaaudeo from Bhendavade village of Hatkanangale tehsil has lost everything he had in the recent floods in Maharashtra, including his small mud house with all the utensils. His home was located on the bank of Warna river that was flowing 10 feet above the flood level. "Nothing is with me. Not even a single chadar (sheet). These blankets have also been donated by somebody," he says. He is a daily wage labourer and is now worried about work as there is no farming work left for him. "I don't know how I will survive the next three months, at least till November, when harvesting season of sugarcane will start," he said.
This is the story of thousands others like him in Kolhapur, Sangli and part of Satara districts of Western Maharashtra. In his own village of Bhendavade, there are almost 175 homes which were totally damaged by flood. "For 10 days, we were living in a camp at Sharad Sugar Mill Shirol. There are still thousands of people, who were rescued by people, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and army. Many of them have lost everything. Most of them are labourers. We will need two years minimum to recover from this disaster," said Udayaingh Mane, gram panchayat member of Bhendavade.
The unprecedented rain and failure of flood management, especially water released from the Almatti dam of Karnataka has led to flooding in these parts of Western Maharashtra. Almost 50 people have lost their lives as well as loss of 8,000 animals including cows, buffalos, bullocks, poultry etc. Around 20,000 hectares of farming land, mainly engaged in sugarcane cultivation has been badly damaged during the floods. All the establishments including shops, garages or other immovable properties on the banks of Krishna, Warna and Panchganga rivers are totally damaged.
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In Bhilawadi village of Sangli district, a horrible sight of destruction meets one’s eyes. The village of 18,000 people has been wiped out. Even the second storeys of some buildings had come under water. Not a single shop in the main market of village has been left undamaged. "Nothing is left here. Grocery shops or stationary, everything is damaged and now rotting. People tried hard to save by shifting things. But the water so fast that it was impossible to shift everything. This loss runs into crores of rupees in Bhilawadi village only. People are really in shock," said Vishwajeet Kadam, MLA.
People are estimating that the cost of damages will run into Rs 15,000 crore or more. "These are industrial districts. You will find some kind of industry, be it small scale or medium scale in every village. The flood has caused damage to all these industries and so the losses will be huge," said DB Chitale, owner of Chitale dairy, which is the largest in Sangli district.
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Maharashtra government has sought around Rs 7,000 crore from the Centre to help the flood affected people as well as businesses. The amount of compensation declared by the state government is not sufficient. But people are right now focusing on cleaning their premises and arranging essential things for daily life.