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Commuters wade through a water logged street as it rains heavily in parts of Maharashtra. Photo/PTI.

Heavy rains wreak havoc in Maharashtra, 15 killed in Pune, Mumbai besieged

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Maharashtra, specifically Pune and Mumbai, has been witnessing heavy rains over the past few days.

At least 15 people, including four children, were killed when a portion of the compound wall of a housing society collapsed on shanties adjacent to it in Kondhwa, Pune, in the early hours of Saturday (June 29).

The shanties were set up for labourers working in a nearby construction site. A fire brigade official said incessant rains might have led to the collapse of the wall. Pune received 73.1 millimetres of rain on Friday, the second-highest rainfall in June since 2010. According to the police, a portion of the 12 to 15-feet-high wall collapsed between 1.30 and 1.45 am.

The fire brigade, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel, and police rushed to the spot to carry out rescue operations. “At least 15 people – nine men, two women, and four children – have been killed in the incident, and three got injured,” an officer of Kondhwa police station said.

Police had earlier said that 17 people were killed in the incident. A fire brigade official said that the victims were natives of either Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. All the injured people have been shifted to a hospital and District Collector Naval Kishore Ram visited the spot of the incident. “We have ordered an inquiry into the incident and those responsible will be punished,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an in-depth inquiry into the incident of the wall collapse in Pune, in which 15 people were killed.

“Extremely saddened to know about loss of lives in the Kondhwa, Pune wall collapse incident. My deepest condolences to the families and praying for the speedy recovery of the injured. Directed Pune Collector to conduct an in-depth enquiry,” Fadnavis said on Twitter.

State Congress chief Ashok Chavan also expressed his grief over the incident and urged the state government to extend all help to the families of the dead and injured. Chavan said that an inquiry should be carried out “so that the guilty can be punished”.

In Mumbai, the suburban local trains, called the ‘lifeline of Mumbai’, remained largely unaffected and were running as per their schedule. However, in view of IMD’s heavy rainfall forecast, the Central Railways (CR) cancelled some express or passenger trains, especially those between Mumbai and Pune.

A press release issued by the CR said that the Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express, Mumbai-Pune Sinhagad Express, Bhusaval-Mumbai Passenger, and Pune-Panvel Passenger have been cancelled on Saturday and Sunday (June 30). The Bhusaval-Pune Express has been diverted through Daund-Manmad. Mumbai-Bhusaval Passenger will remain cancelled till July 1, it said.

According to the officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), 39 incidents of a short circuit, 104 incidents of uprooting of trees or falling of tree branches were reported from various parts of the city. A tree was uprooted as a result of incessant rains on Friday night, in which some cars got damaged. Meanwhile, the weather department predicted rains in Mumbai, Thane and the coastal areas on Saturday.

Latest satellite images showed active monsoon conditions over the west coast with deep westerlies, it said. In the last 24 hours, Colaba observatory recorded 81.2 mm rainfall, while the Santacruz weather station recorded 234.8 mm rainfall.

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