Retreating monsoon wreaks havoc across Maharashtra

Six killed in Pandharpur as portion of river embankment wall caves in

The retreating monsoon wreaked havoc over several parts of Maharashtra, especially the western part of the State and the Marathwada region, with Solapur being particularly hit-hard.

At least six people, including three women and one minor, were killed and two more injured in Pandharpur after heavy rain caused a portion of an embankment wall near the Chandrabhaga river to cave in, authorities said on Wednesday.

District authorities said that the wall of the newly constructed Kumbhar Ghat crumbled after 2 p.m., killing six of the eight people standing on the ghat wall.

Four of the deceased have been identified as Gopal Laxman Abhangrao (70), his son, Mangesh Abhangrao (35), Radhabai Gopal (50), Umesh Jagtap (13), while two other warkari women are yet to be identified.

Officials said two other men, buried in the debris, were rescued despite relief work being hampered by the intensity of the showers.

The temple town of Pandharpur has been particularly afflicted with rains throwing life awry. Power supply has been disrupted in many parts of Solapur city with rains battering the district for the last three days. Wall cave-ins have been reported in a number of places, with a portion of the tower of the palace at Akkalkot collapsing, while the road connecting the town of Vairag with Jawalgaon village in Barshi taluk was submerged.

With the district witnessing near-continuous rain for the last 48 hours, a high- alert has been issued by the district administration. Solapur had received 79 mm of rainfall till 5:30 p.m., said India Meteorological Department (IMD) authorities.

Authorities have warned residents not to step out. Farmers have been acutely afflicted with rain destroying grape and pomegranate fruit orchards and crops like maize and jowar. Very heavy rains in the catchment areas of the Ujjani dam near Pandharpur caused a massive discharge of 20,000 cusecs of water since Tuesday.

Traffic within Solapur city and the rural parts were thrown off-kilter as two-wheelers and four-wheelers were seen struggling to reach their destinations through waterlogged roads.

The showers caused the lake near the famous Siddheshwar Temple complex in Solapur city to overflow, with waters entering the temple for the first time in over two decades. Elsewhere in western Maharashtra, Pune city and parts of the district, too, were steadily lashed by showers late afternoon onwards.

Orange alert in Pune

The IMD has issued an ‘orange alert’ for Pune over the next two days and a ‘yellow alert’ for October 16, while a ‘red alert’ has been issued for Kolhapur.

“Thunderstorms accompanied with lightning and heavy rainfall very likely to occur at isolated places in north Maharashtra, including the districts of Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik and Jalgaon as well as over Pune and adjoining areas over the next couple of days,” said a senior IMD official.

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