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Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. (HT)
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. (HT)

Maharashtra govt looking at ways to help cyclone-hit districts

Uddhav Thackeray meets various ministers of the state to discuss ways to help the districts affected by cyclone Nisarga

MUMBAI : Even as the number of covid-19 infection cases in Maharashtra is nearing the 75,000 mark and the state’s death toll due to the virus is close to 2,600, Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday, met various ministers of the state to discuss ways to help the districts affected by Wednesday’s cyclone- Nisarga, claiming that many tress have fallen, power poles got uprooted and people got deprived cooking water, food grains and electricity due to the storm.

“A survey of the damage caused by cyclone should be submitted within two days so that farmers and villagers can be helped immediately," said the chief minister, adding that the state should start preparing for the future for storms and cyclones like Nisarga.

“The damaged houses in Raigad district do not have access to cooking water. They need immediate delivery of food grains. The system should undertake that work immediately. MSEDCL should deploy more manpower in this area and start power supply first. Hospitals and dispensaries need to be supplied with electricity," said Thackeray.

Thackeray said that the crisis is huge, while many people in the state are working day and night to combat the corona virus.

With 9,304 cases and 260 deaths in on Wednesday, the total number of COVID-19 infections in India reached 2,16,919 and the numbers of casualties soared to 6,075 by Thursday.

Maharashtra alone reported a spike of 2,560 new covid-19 cases, almost 25% of the total number of new cases in India.

The state has recorded 74,860 cases and 122 deaths, taking the state’s death toll to 2,587 so far.

A total of 1,276 new cases and 49 deaths were reported in Mumbai alone, taking its overall count to 43,262 as on Wednesday.

The death toll in the city has gone up to 1,417.

There are a total of 82 laboratories functional in the state for covid-19 diagnosis—46 government and 36 private ones. Out of 4,97,276 laboratory samples, 74,860 have been tested positive for covid-19 until Wednesday.

There are 5,71,915 people currently undergoing home quarantine in Maharashtra. There are 71,912 beds available in quarantine institutions and 33,674 people are in institutional quarantine at present.

However, despite the acute covid-19 crisis in Maharashtra, the worst-affected state in the country, the ministers in the state appeared to be concerned about the damages done by Wednesday’s cyclone.

“Especially in Raigad district, a large number of power poles have fallen and MSEDCL should immediately start supplying power and provide additional manpower and equipment from other places," said Thackeray in a meeting with the state’s revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, Mumbai Suburban Guardian Minister Aditya Thackeray, urban development minister and Thane Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde and transport minister Anil Parab. The state’s chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta along with Palghar, Thane, Sindhudurg, Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburbs, Nashik, Ahmednagar, and Konkan Divisional Commissioners were also present at the meeting.

Thackeray said that as a matter of luck, the intensity of the cyclone has eased.

“The important point is that such storms are not new on the east coast but now Mumbai is experiencing such storms on the west coast for the first time in many years. So we have to prepare for the future," said Thackeray.

Raigad’s resident deputy collector Dr. Padmashree Banade said that lakhs of houses have been damaged in Raigad district.

“More than 1 lakh trees have fallen. A hurricane struck between Shrivardhan and Murud, hitting Shrivardhan hard and disrupting all communication. Thousands of electricity pylons have fallen. 5,000 hectares of agriculture has been damaged in the district and teams have come out for survey," said Banade.

“People (in Raigad) are scared that their telephone and mobile services will be disrupted and they will not be able to communicate with others. Efforts are underway to restore telecom services. It was reported that 500 mobile towers have collapsed due to the lack of electricity. It was also informed that 10 boats were partially damaged and 12 hectares of fish farming was damaged," said Banade.

Principal Secretary Relief and Rehabilitation Kishor Raje Nimbalkar said, “Six people were killed, six animals were killed and 16 others were injured in Maharashtra due to the cyclone. According to preliminary information, 5033 hectares of land was damaged in Raigad district. A grant of 4 lakh should be given to the heirs of the deceased immediately."

The Ratnagiri district collector also said that most of the damage was done in Dapoli and Mandangad.

“3,000 trees have fallen. He also informed that 14 substations, 1962 transformers, power poles have collapsed and water supply system has been disrupted in some places," he said.

Palghar, Ahmednagar, Nashik District Collector also informed about the losses, said Thackeray.

“Trees fell at 25 places in Mumbai city. In Mumbai suburbs, trees fell at 55 places and 2 houses collapsed. Divisional Commissioner Konkan also informed that efforts are underway to ensure smooth power supply," said the chief minister.

Thorat said, "We got to see what vigilance really is."

“Rehabilitation is difficult due to fallen power lines and poles. This priority needs to be raised as soon as possible. The sooner help arrives, the more people will be relieved," said Thorat.

Thane’s district collector Rajesh Narvekar said that Thane was not particularly hit.

“162 mud houses collapsed, 360 tree branches fell. All roads and highways in the district have been started. He also said that the telephone service in Ulhasnagar had been disrupted for some time," said Narvekar.

The state government gradually seems to be shifting focus from covid-19 to other issues. On Thursday, Maharashtra government allowed inter-district movement of people within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

With 56,794 covid-19 cases and 1,742 deaths so far, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), is the worst affected by the deadly virus in the state.

In revised guidelines issued on Thursday, the state government said inter-district movement of people in MMR shall be allowed.

In phase two from 5 June, all shops on one side of the road, lane or passage will open for full working hours on one day, while all shops on the other side of the road will remain open on the next day and so on, the order said.

In phase three from 8 June, private offices can operate with up to 10% staff or 10 people, whichever is more, with remaining employees working from home.

From 7 June, home delivery of newspapers will be done with the knowledge of the receiver (customer) and the delivery personnel will wear masks, use hand sanitiser and follow social distancing guidelines.

Offices and staff of educational institutions can operate for non-teaching purpose, including for developing e-content, evaluation of answer sheets and declaration of results, the order said.

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