Gujarat rains | Mumbai-Ahmedabad train traffic resumes as Narmada water level drops
Both passenger and goods trains were held up on both sides of the Narmada River bridge for over 12 hours as the water breached danger mark due to torrential rains
Train traffic on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route resumed slowly around Monday (September 18) noon nearly 12 hours after it was halted when the Narmada river was flowing above the danger mark between Bharuch and Ankleshwar stations in Gujarat, Western Railway said.
Sharing an update on the situation, Western Railway's Chief PRO Sumit Thakur told PTI that the operation of trains on the route from bridge no 502 resumed slowly at around 11:30 am on Monday as the water level of Narmada river receded below the danger mark.
The operation of trains on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route between Bharuch and Ankleshwar stations under the Vadodara division stopped after Narmada river waters surged above the danger mark at brigade no. 502 at around 11:50 pm on Sunday.
"The railway traffic over the Narmada River bridge has resumed and trains are being operated slowly with caution," Thakur said.
He said WR has already set up helpline numbers and passengers are being updated about the status of trains through a public announcement system as well.
Since Sunday late at night, all the passenger and goods trains on both ends of the river were held up due to the flood.
Thakur had said arrangements were being made to provide refreshments, tea, and water to the stranded passengers.
At least one-and-a-half dozen trains, including Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express and Shatabdi Express, have been cancelled due to the flood, a Western Railway release said.
Heavy rains lash Gujarat
Torrential rains that lashed several parts of the western state on Sunday left low-lying areas inundated and cut off several villages as Narmada and other rivers were in full spate.
Several areas in Ahmedabad were waterlogged after the city received 76 mm of rainfall in 12 hours ending at 6 pm on Sunday (September 17), throwing normal life out of gear. Authorities blocked underpasses for traffic as a precautionary measure.
9,600 people were shifted to safety and 207 others rescued in the five districts of Narmada, Bharuch, Vadodara, Dahod and Panchmahal, officials 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.
IMD issues red alert for 7 Gujarat districts
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 (September 19).
It has also warned of isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall in Gujarat in its forecast till Thursday morning (September 21).
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.
CM Bhupendra Patel does aerial survey
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel carried out an aerial survey of the region.
Patel was at Ekta Nagar in Narmada district on Sunday morning (September 17) 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.
Sardar Sarovar Dam, Ukai Dam release water
The Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat has had its water level significantly reduced due to the release of approximately 10 lakh cusecs of water. This was initiated by opening 23 gates of the dam in response to heavy rainfall in the region. The Sardar Sarovar Dam reached its full reservoir level (FRL) of 138.68 metres for the first time this monsoon on Sunday morning (September 17).
Officials at the Ukai Dam across the Tapi river opened 15 gates to release 1.98 lakh cusecs of water into the river. This was done to contain the rising water levels and prevent potential flooding in the downstream areas.
At least ten major dams are near their overflowing marks including Ukai, Damanganga, Kadana and Bhadar, the government data shows.
Parts of Panchmahal, Mahisagar, Sabarkantha, Aravalli, Kheda, Dahod, Vadodara and Ahmedabad districts were among the worst hit by the downpours on Sunday (September 17).
Gujarat has received 90.8% of average annual rainfall
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 per cent, 83 per cent and 76 per cent of rainfall, respectively, as per SEOC data.
In neighbouring Rajasthan's Jalore district, heavy rainfall prompted the District Education Officer to issue an advisory directing closure of all schools and anganwadis. The advisory read, "All Government and Private schools and Anganwadis in the district will remain closed today, on September 18, due to rainfall."
(With inputs from agencies)