NDRF personnel conduct rescue operations in flood-hit areas in Karnataka’s Kodagu on Sunday.  (Photo: PTI)
NDRF personnel conduct rescue operations in flood-hit areas in Karnataka’s Kodagu on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)

Flood-hit states shift focus to relief work as rains subside; toll touches 137

  • So far 67 people have been killed in Kerala, mostly in landslides, over 30 were killed in Maharashtra and 40 in Karnataka
  • Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant said the situation in Kolhapur, Sangli and other parts of the state needs to be categorized as “L3”

BENGALURU : Flood waters have receded somewhat across Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, exposing sludge, debris and a pile of complaints.

On a day Union home minister Amit Shah made an aerial survey of flooded districts, the Congress party dismissed official estimates of damage in Karnataka and Maharashtra, urging the disasters be declared a national calamity. In Kerala, some social media campaigns urged citizens not to donate to government, drawing the chief minister’s ire.

In Karnataka, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa estimated losses of 10,000 crore while seeking 3,000 crore from the centre, a figure rejected by Opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah who said the floods had damaged property worth of 1 trillion. Siddaramaiah also said that in the absence of a council of ministers, Yediyurappa is a one-man show and would not be able to deliver.

Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant said the situation in Kolhapur, Sangli and other parts of the state needs to be categorized as “L3", as per guidelines of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The Centre has not provided any major assistance to the state, he said.

In Kerala, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan reacted sharply to online campaigns against sending donations to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. “The government views it as a heinous crime against the state and the people,’’ Vijayan said, warning of action against propagators of such campaigns. “Only anti-socials can do such a thing.’’ The campaigns speak of alleged state government failure in last year’s relief work.

During the day, home minister Shah made an aerial survey of flood-affected areas of Belagavi in Karnataka and Kolhapur and Sangli in Maharashtra. He also met senior officials to review relief operations.

Rains eased on Sunday, helping the states mount massive relief operations and returning some normalcy to hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

The floods have so far killed 67 people in Kerala, most of them in landslides, and displaced about 250,000 people. The toll in Karnataka rose to 40. Over 30 people were killed in Maharashtra, and over 400,000 displaced, mostly from Kolhapur and Sangli.

With rains easing, water levels have reportedly come down in major rivers in Kerala. Three districts continue to be on red alert, and four under “orange" alert. Several trains remained cancelled, while the Kochi airport, shut down since Friday over flooded runways, resumed operations.

Larger dams in Kerala are only about half-full currently, in sharp contrast to the last year’s precarious situation where sluice gates of nearly full dams had to be opened to discharge water in the midst of heavy rain, leading to floods.

Sharan Poovanna and Press Trust of India contributed to this story.

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