Heavy rain batters Gujarat, Narmada dam water discharge causes flooding

A total of 9,613 people hit by floods were shifted to safer locations while 207 others were rescued in Narmada, Bharuch, Vadodara, Dahod and Panchmahal districts, officials said.

Ahmedabad: Heavy rain lashed many parts of Gujarat on Sunday, flooding low-lying areas and cutting off several villages as Narmada and other rivers are in full spate, following which 9,600 people were shifted to safety and 207 others rescued in five districts.

Several areas in Ahmedabad were waterlogged after the city received 76 mm of rainfall in 12 hours ending at 6 pm on Sunday, throwing the normal life out of gear. Authorities blocked underpasses for traffic as a precautionary measure.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for Panchmahal, Dahod, Kheda, Aravalli, Mahisagar, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha districts predicting isolated extremely heavy rainfall till Tuesday morning.

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It has also warned of isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall in Gujarat in its forecast till Thursday morning.

The release of massive amounts of water from Sardar Sarovar dam (SSD), which touched its full reservoir level of 138.68 metres on Sunday morning, in the Narmada river due to heavy rains in the catchment areas in Madhya Pradesh caused massive flooding in low-lying areas in Narmada district.

A total of 9,613 people hit by floods were shifted to safer locations while 207 others were rescued in Narmada, Bharuch, Vadodara, Dahod and Panchmahal districts, officials said.

Among them, a majority of 5,744 people were relocated in Bharuch, followed by 2,317 in
Narmada, 1,462 in Vadodara, 20 in Dahod, and 70 in Panchmahal, they said.

Those shifted to safer places include people from 28 affected villages and those located near the world’s tallest monument the Statue of Unity in Narmada district, officials said.

As the Narmada river is in spate after the heavy discharge of water from the dam, parts of Vadodara and Bharuch districts near the river banks were flooded, they said, adding that the situation is being monitored closely to ensure the safety of the affected people.

Apart from Narmada, rain-fed rivers such as Orsang, Heran, Mahi, Meshri and Panam are swollen due to heavy rain coupled with the release of water from various dams, resulting in the inundation of low-lying villages.

Narmada collector Shweta Teotia said rescue efforts were underway and the administration is keeping close tabs on the situation caused by the release of water from the (Sardar Sarovar) dam.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel carried out an aerial survey of the region.

Patel was at Ekta Nagar in Narmada district on Sunday morning to offer prayers to the river after the SSD touched the full reservoir level of 138.68 metres.

The government has deployed two teams of NDRF in Narmada, and one each in Bharuch, Rajkot, Junagadh and Vadodara, officials said.

This is in addition to three teams each of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) being deployed in Narmada and Vadodara and one each SDRF team in Dahod, Bharuch and Banaskantha to carry out relief and rescue operations.

Two teams of Army are on standby in Vadodara, officials added.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and local rescue teams evacuated people stranded in flooded areas, including around 70 students of a residential school in Narmada district, and around 100 labourers trapped under a bridge near a river in Panchmahal district.

Some patients stranded in a hospital in Vasantpara village in Narmada district were also rescued by an NDRF team.

A Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) official said in the evening that the water level of the dam eased below its full reservoir level of 138.68 metres with the inflow of water gradually coming down.

As the water released in the river was reduced, it was likely to ease the flooding situation along the river bank, according to the official.

Parts of Panchmahal, Mahisagar, Sabarkantha, Aravalli, Kheda, Dahod, Vadodara and
Ahmedabad districts were among the worst hit by the downpours on Sunday.

Godhra and Sehra talukas in Panchmahal district received 226 mm and 220 mm rainfall in 12 hours till 6 pm on Sunday, the highest in Gujarat for the day.

Virpur taluka (205 mm) in Mahisagar district, Talod (181 mm) of Sabarkantha, and Morva Hadaf (171 mm) of Panchmahal were among around 16 talukas that received over 100 mm of rainfall during this period, as per the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC).

At least ten major dams are near their overflowing marks including Ukai, Damanganga, Kadana and Bhadar, the government data shows.

Gujarat has so far received nearly 90.8 per cent of the average annual rainfall, with Kutch and Saurashtra regions recording 137 per cent and 111 per cent rainfall, followed by south, east-central and north Gujarat with 85%, 83% and 76% of rainfall, respectively, as per SEOC data.

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