Nearly 6,000 passengers were stranded as train services on the Konkan Railway route in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district were suspended on Thursday after a river overflowed following heavy rains, while incessant downpour badly hit road and rail traffic in several parts of the state, including around Mumbai, as authorities called in NDRF to help the administration in rescue efforts.
So far, nine trains have been regulated due to disruption of services on the Konkan Railway route, meaning they have been either rerouted, short-terminated or cancelled, officials said.
Major rivers in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts in the Konkan region are flowing above the danger mark as a result of incessant rains, and the government machinery is in the process of shifting a number of affected people to safer places, authorities said.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took a review of the situation arising out of the continuous downpour in these two coastal districts, the chief minister's office (CMO) said.
During the meeting, Thackeray said the India meteorological department has issued an alert of heavy rainfall in the coastal region for the next three days.
He asked the authorities to remain alert and keep monitoring the levels of overflowing rivers and evacuate residents to safer places.
Konkan Railway officials said stranded trains were at safe locations on different stations and the passengers in them were also safe and they were being provided food and water.
Water level at the Vashishti river bridge between Chiplun and Kamathe stations in Ratnagiri has risen above the danger mark after the heavy downpour, an official said.
"In view of the safety of passengers, train services in this section are suspended temporarily," he said.
According to rail officials, 5,500-6,000 passengers were stranded in trains which were regulated at various stations on the 756-km--long KR route, which is spread across three states -- Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka -- and passes through tough terrain.
The Konkan Railway informed that due to the flood situation at Chiplun, so far nine long distance trains have been regulated.
Out of these, the Dadar-Sawantwadi special train was regulated at Chiplun station and the CSMT-Madgaon Janshatabdi special train at Khed station. Konkan Railway spokesperson Girish Karandikar said passengers in these trains were safe.
"We have made arrangements to provide tea, snacks and water to all the stranded passengers," Karandikar said.
Major rivers in Ratnagiri district, including Jagbudi, Vashishti, Kodavali, Shastri, Bav are flowing above the danger level.
As a result, Khed, Chiplun, Lanja, Rajapur, Sangameshwar towns and nearby areas have been affected and residents are being shifted to safer places, the CMO said.
Similarly, in neighbouring Raigad district, rivers including Kundalika, Amba, Savitri, Patalganga, Gadhi, Ulhas rivers are flowing above danger level, the CMO said in a statement.
During the review meeting, Thackeray also took stock of the overflowing rivers in Ratnagiri and Raigad districts.
Meanwhile, the CMO said Mahabaleshwar, a popular hill station in Satara district, has received 480 mm rainfall in 24 hours, due to which the water level of Savitri and other rivers was rising.
Train services of the Central Railway in the Kasara Ghat section of Maharashtra's Thane district and near Lonavala hill town in Pune district adjoining Mumbai were also severely affected after heavy rains caused flooding, washing out of tracks, boulder crashes and mudslides in that region, officials said.
The train traffic between CSMT in south Mumbai and Kasara, over 100 km away, resumed on Thursday afternoon, 17 hours after a part of the track was washed away due to torrential rains, an official said.
The traffic of long-distance trains would take some time to resume and buses have been arranged to ferry the stranded passengers, he added.
Train services between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Kasara were restored around 3 pm, said Shivaji Sutar, chief spokesperson, CR.
As it rained heavily through the night, incidents of mudslide and boulder fall were reported at five or six locations in the 14 km Ghat (hill) stretch between Kasara and Igatpuri.
Trains for North and East India from Mumbai travel through the Kasara Ghat.
Three trains which were stuck in the Kasara Ghat section were taken to Igatpuri, while the CR arranged buses of the MSRTC, the state transport undertaking, ferry stranded passengers.
Several roads in Kolhapur district, including a few state highways, have been shut for traffic as some of the stretches have gone under water as a result of incessant rains in the district over the past two days, officials said.
In the 24-hour period that ended 8 am on Thursday, this western Maharashtra district recorded 93 mm rainfall, they said.
The water level of Kolhapur's Panchganga river recorded at the Rajaram weir has crossed the ”warning level”, the district disaster management cell said.
”There are three district roads that have seen closure as the rainwater has submerged of the stretches. In several rural areas, the bridges have gone under water, due to the traffic movement has been shut. A few state highways going through the district have also been affected,” an official said.
The catchment areas of several dams in the region witnessed heavy rainfall in the last 48 hours, which led to rise in the water level of these reservoirs.
The National Disaster Response Force has earlier said that it has deployed nine rescue teams in Maharashtra and two of them have been sent to Kolhapur district.
One of it will undertake rescue or preventive evacuation in the flood-prone Shirol tehsil, while the other one will conduct rescue work in Kolhapur city, it has said.
Mumbai, its neighbouring Thane and Palghar and other districts in the Konkan region have been witnessing heavy downpour since the last few days, leading to inundation at several places and disruption of rail and road transport services.
Water level of many rivers has risen and crossed the danger mark at some places.
An official statement issued by the NDRF said four of its teams have been deployed in Mumbai, and one each in Thane and Palghar districts.
Some villages in the Sahapur taluka of Thane were marooned, a local official earlier said, adding authorities with the help of the NDRF rescued hundreds of people from those places.
Incidents of water-logging leaving people stranded were also reported from Mumbra, Bhiwandi, Titwala and Kasara areas of Thane district.
Various places in Vasai, Virar and other locations in Palghar also witnessed flooding, but no loss of life was reported so far, officials said.
Besides, people stranded in some inundated areas of Kasara and Titwala in Thane were also shifted to zilla parishad schools, they said.
Thane's regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam said they received 34 calls of tree falls in the city, but no one was injured in these incidents.
Water entered some houses in Thane's Ganesh Nagar in the wee hours and around 40 people were later rescued from there by the disaster response teams, Kadam said.
The Nashik-Jawhar route was closed following a landslide and operations there are likely to resume by Thursday evening, Palghar collector Dr Manik Gursal said in a message.
Various places witnessed flooding in Vasai, Virar and other locations in Palghar, but no loss of life was reported so far, officials said.