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Over 100 killed in Maharashtra downpour

By BS Bureau
July 27, 2005 01:15 IST
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Life in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra came to a standstill as torrential rains killed over 100 people across the Konkan belt and Thane districts and stopped rail and air traffic.

Heavy rains for next 48 hours

With the Met department forecasting heavy rains for the next 48 hours, the state government has sounded a red alert and advised people to limit their travel arrangements for the next two days.

Disaster mitigation centre set up

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said a 24-hour disaster mitigation centre had been set up in the Mantralaya that would co-ordinate relief and rescue operations.

Mumbai schools closed for 2 days

All schools will remain closed for two days. The Mumbai domestic airport has been shut down and the authorities said a decision on reopening it would be taken only tomorrow. Today's last flight landed at 2.14 in the afternoon. According to Sudhir Kumar, Director, Airports Authority of India, flights have been cancelled due to poor visibility.

"I am waiting at the Delhi airport to go to Mumbai," Saroj Dutta, Executive Director, Jet Airways, told Business Standard in the evening.

Indian Airlines had to divert two of its flights to Ahmedabad coming from Mangalore and Delhi and one flight from Calicut-Coimbatore and a Goa flight to Goa. The status of Jet Airways was no better. Most of its flights had to be cancelled.

Phones jammed

Mobile and land phones were also jammed across the state and power supply in the city suburbs was snapped as a safety precaution.

Telephone services of both mobile and landline were hit after torrential rains lashed the city. BPL and Orange services were disrupted, according to users. A spokesperson of Orange said that services were affected in certain areas of North Mumbai due to system failure. The BPL spokesperson was not available for comments.

Spokespersons of Reliance Infocomm, which provides CDMA services under Reliance IndiaMobile, and Airtel claimed that their services were not affected by the torrential rains.

Tata Indicom CEO Greg Young also said that the services were not affected.

"Heavy rains had affected equipment including base transceiver stations and switching towers. These issues were rectified with a couple of hours and services were back on track," a mobile operator said. SMSs also did not move but the operators attributed to this to increased traffic.

Power supply shut down

Reliance Energy cut the power supply for suburban Mumbai and promised to restore it only after the waters recede.

Phase II and IV of the Koyna hydro project has been shut down as water from the Koyna dam was not been released to avoid submergence of the neighbouring villages.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Board has also resorted to switching off the power supply in its Kalyan, Dombivali, Uhasnagar and other areas as a safety precaution. Power supply had been switched off as the rain water rushed into transformers and distribution boxes, MSEB sources said.

Train services hit

The central and the western railway train services were shut since afternoon on Tuesday. Long distance trains from Mumbai, like August Kranti Maidan, Saurashtra Express, Deccan Queen and many others, were cancelled due to incessant rains. Mumbai local trains too were not running, throwing normal life totally out of gear and bringing the city to a grinding halt. Roads too were choked due to heavy traffic and rains.

Most of the corporate offices declared a half-day holiday allowing executives to leave for home but chaos reigned on the roads with traffic refusing to move.

The coastal regions of the state like Mahad, Ratnagiri and Raigad have also been affected. At the request of the district authorities, navy pressed helicopters into service but the choppers could not reach the spot due to inclement weather.

Raigad experienced 217 mm of rainfall, Thane 75 mm, Mumbai 30 mm, Koyna 558 mm, Ratnagiri 217 mm, Sindhudurg 110.6 mm, Parbhani 90 mm, Hingoli 99 mm.

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Source: source