New Delhi: Over 20,000 people were moved to safer places in three districts of Maharashtra which witnessed heavy showers for the past two days, even as the flood situation in Karnataka worsened on Thursday with several areas inundated due to torrential rains and release of water from major dams.
After being battered by torrential rains that triggered one of the worst floods in recent times and claimed 50 lives, Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana were returning to normalcy with relief measures being stepped up by the government.
Noting that the low pressure over south-central Maharashtra and south Konkan is likely to move over the Arabian Sea and intensify into a depression in the next 48 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday said under the influence of this cyclonic circulation, heavy rains are expected over the ghat areas of Maharashtra, Konkan and south Gujarat during the next two days.
In the northern part of the country, Delhi's air quality hit an eight-month low on Thursday with stubble burning accounting for only six per cent of the city's PM2.5 concentration, even as a layer of smoky haze lingered over the Delhi-NCR region with the air quality hitting 'very poor' levels on Thursday.
While the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) -- a set of anti-pollution measures followed in Delhi and its vicinity according to the severity of the situation -- also came into force in Delhi, NASA's satellite imagery showed a large cluster of farm fires near Amritsar, Patiala, Tarn Taran, and Firozpur in Punjab, and Ambala and Rajpura in Haryana.
In Karnataka, Yadgir, Raichur, Ballari, Bidar, Vijayapura, Bagalkote, Belagavi, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Gadag, Koppal, Haveri and Dharwad were the worst affected due to floods. According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre, the floodgates of all the major dams have been opened resulting in water gushing into villages and formation of islands at different places.
According to sources in the Karnataka Disaster Management Authority, as many as 515 animals lost their lives while 4,782 people have been shifted to 36 relief camps opened by the district administration. This is the third wave of floods in the state in the past three months.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday said he will hold a review meeting with administrations of districts that have been affected by torrential rain and floods, and that necessary funds were being released for taking up relief work.
Meanwhile, Pune, Solapur, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur in western Maharashtra are witnessing heavy showers for the past two days. Officials said at least 27 people have died in rain-related incidents in Solapur, Sangli and Pune districts while over 20,000 people have been evacuated to safer places in these three districts.
State capital Mumbai too witnessed water-logging in many areas after overnight rains on Thursday. In Pune, four people died after getting swept away in a swollen stream at Khanota in Daund tehsil, while one person was still missing.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also chaired a review meeting and asked state administration, Army, Navy and Air Force to be on high alert to tackle any emergency arising out of heavy rains and flood-like situation in parts of western Maharashtra and Marathwada.
In a statement, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been stationed in Osmanabad, Solapur, Pandharpurand Baramati.
Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana limped back to normalcy with relief measures being stepped up by the government as there were no rains on Thursday and water started receding in most parts of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits though some localities still remained inundated.
The Disaster Response Force (DRF) teams were working continuously to normalise the situation in the city. In the state, around 44,000 people were put up in 64 relief camps and 45,000 food packets were provided.
On the expected rainfall, the IMD said "Light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places would occur over Konkan and Goa and adjoining ghat areas of Maharashtra. Extremely heavy falls (more than 20 cm per day) are also likely over south Konkan and adjoining ghat areas of Maharashtra."
Strong winds with speed reaching 25-35 kmph, gusting to 45 kmph, are likely to prevail over east central and northeast Arabian Sea and along and off Maharashtra, Goa and south Gujarat coasts during next 12 hours.
It would increase, becoming squally with wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph and gusting to 60 kmph east central and northeast Arabian Sea and along and off Maharashtra, Goa and south Gujarat coasts from the evening of October 15, the IMD said.