Nagpur: At least three persons including a woman have died while over 400 people evacuated to safer places after a thunderous downpour since midnight of Friday-Saturday virtually submerged Maharashtra’s second capital Nagpur which resembled ‘lake city’, an official said on Saturday, adding the Indian Army was called for the rescue operations.
The torrential rains accompanied by thunder and lightning, poured over the city and surroundings, and many areas woke up to between one and four feet of waterlogging.
Thousands of citizens were left stranded in their homes or buildings, unable to step out as waters flooded the ground floors of housing complexes and in large areas power was switched off as a precaution, hitting even water supply.
A 70-year-old woman identified as Mirabai Pillay is among three who have died in flood-related incidents and over 400 people in different parts were evacuated to safer locations, even as more than 10,000 homes were inundated and led to heavy losses.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said in Mumbai that the government has been constantly monitoring the flood situation in Nagpur and is in contact with the officials there.
Union Minister for Highways Nitin Gadkari, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis held meetings with top civic officials to discuss the rescue and relief operations even as the city remains under an orange alert for the next two days.
Fadnavis announced compensation of Rs 10,000 to people whose homes were inundated by the flood waters, Rs 50,000 to shopkeepers and Rs 10,000 to small businesses which have suffered losses in the flood aftermath.
The government will also fund the removal of the silt, muck and debris left behind in the mayhem after the flood waters started receding late this evening.
“The city witnessed massive rains of over 100 mm in just four hours last night, and 90 mm in just two hours. Owing to this, the Ambazari Lake overflowed, the water entered the adjacent Nag River and Pivli River, leading to the flooding in the city,” Fadnavis said, explaining the causes.
The floods have caused damage to many roads, bridges, at least one road has caved in, walls near drains have collapsed and water entered the homes of people in the surroundings, he added.
In view of the grim situation, several power transformers were shut off as a precautionary measure, and at least 14 have yet to be commissioned, causing blackouts in many parts of the city, but Fadnavis said power shall be restored by Sunday morning.
Since morning, besides the army columns, teams of the SDRF, NDRF, Nagpur Police, fire brigade and other agencies were deployed in boats to evacuate the marooned people in different parts of the city to safer locations as intermittent rains continued to batter the city even on Saturday.
Some areas of the city which reported severe waterlogging included Shankar Nagar, Panchsheel Chowk, Sitabuldi, Ambazari, Kanchipura, Itwari, Lakadganj, Dharampeth, Mekosabaug, Sadar, Cotton Market and surroundings.
At least 50 girls stuck in a private hostel were rescued with ropes and shifted to a higher location, and some distressed families in buildings where two-three feet water seeped into their homes were also moved out.
Hundreds of public and private vehicles all over the city were partly or fully submerged under water as drains, gutters, the Ambazari Lake and other water bodies flooded beyond the danger levels, with the waters gushing into the city.
As the rains assumed alarming proportions by 5 a.m., the city and district authorities ordered closure of all schools for the day to avoid inconveniencing the students.
The IMD has issued an orange alert with more heavy rains predicted over the next couple of days and urged people to exercise all precautions including moving out to safer spots with the help of the rescue agencies.