Heavy rains claim seven more lives in Vidarbha

August 6th, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Nagpur, Aug 6 (IANS) The toll in the heavy downpour in Maharshtra’s Vidarbha region has risen to 14 with seven more people losing their lives due to the rains that have lashed the area since Monday, disrupting electricity supply and road traffic, officials said Wednesday. Three of the seven deaths were reported from Chandrapur town, while two lives were lost in Bhandara district and one each in Wardha and Gadchiroli Tuesday.

Thirty-year-old Sayyad Javed and 10-year-old Sagar Kamble were crushed when the wall of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar College in Chandrapur town collapsed, while 50-year-old Bhimrao Gedam drowned in flood waters gushing into his Matanagar house, district collector Pradip Kalbhor told IANS.

“The accumulated water has been drained out from the main road and low-lying areas and relief, including temporary shelter, is being provided to people whose houses have suffered damage,” Kalbhor said, adding that 200 huts have been destroyed in the rains.

Bandu Chavre, a farm labourer in Salai village of Wardha district, and Ashok Waghare of Kocchi village in Bhandara district died when struck by lightning. Ramesh Veladi was swept in the flash floods of river Pranahita in Gadchiroli district.

A pregnant woman, Anita Chavan died in wall collapse in Ramgadh village of Bhandara district while her husband Ramlal, two-year-old son Aniket and mother-in-law Sukaiyya were injured.

Though there were only light showers in six districts of the region Wednesday, the situation could turn grim if rains continued for even four more days, an official said.

As many as five sub-districts of Gadchiroli district - Etapalli, Bhamragarh, Sironcha, Aheri and Mulchera - were plunged into darkness for 18 hours till Tuesday evening as the Ballarpur station of Mahagenco, the state generation facility, was submerged in flood water.

Most of the area was virtually cut off from the rest of the world during the same period as bridges over the connecting roads were overflowing and telephone networks - both landline and mobile - were down due to the damage caused to transmission towers.

Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) executive engineer D.S. Rahangdale told IANS that power supply to all areas was restored by Wednesday.

Gadchiroli’s resident district collector P.D. Badkelwar said the administrative machinery, including the police and home guards, was geared to tackle any natural disaster.

The telephone network in Gondia district too was down because the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) tower in Tiroda was struck by a lightning. The district, which suffered extensive damage due to excess rains in 2006, has received only 514 mm rainfall till date and reservoirs are only 60 to 80 percent filled.

The situation in Wardha district, which received 100 mm rainfall Tuesday and 75 mm Wednesday is under control, resident district collector Vijay Moon said.

Of the five districts in western Vidarbha, only Yavatmal has so far been severly affected by heavy rainfall.

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