Incessant downpour continues in Saurashtra and south Gujarat, toll reaches 32

Ahmedabad, July 18 : Incessant heavy downpour continued on Wednesday in Gujarat's Saurashtra region, taking the death toll in the state to 32, officials said.

"A total of 4,020 people have been relocated to safer places and now the priority for the government is to provide basic facilities to those affected by floods, ensure that no epidemics spread.

We will begin the survey to verify the total loss incurred," state Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel, told reporters.

"There was no need for any rescue on Wednesday, although we have deployed around 20 teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)."

The minister said 10 persons have lost lives due to lightning, while nine died due to drowning.

Besides 32 human casualties, 125 livestock too have perished in the floods.

"(As many as) 21 talukas (blocks)out of the 251 talukas in the state, have received more than 1,000 mm of rains in last 24 hours, with 30 talukas receiving 501 mm to 1,000 mm of rains," said Patel.

Mendarda taluka in Junagadh received 133 mm of rains in 10 hours till 6 p.m., followed by Veraval Taluka in Gir Somnath district of Saurashtra with 115 mm rains.

Meanwhile, south Gujarat region which was lashed with heavy rains last week received some respite with low to moderate rains on Wednesday.

The authorities have put high alert on 13 of the 203 dams across the state, five on alert and 12 on warning, due to the high influx of rain waters.

"22 dams have reached their 70 to 90 percentage water storage capacity while nine dams have received more than 100 per cent of water

capacity," Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told reporters.

The minister also added that with the Narmada dam was receiving good water inflow from the catchment area and the state government has also begun releasing waters in the canals for irrigation.

"Banaskantha in north Gujarat will receive this water in next couple of days and farmers would get adequate water for irrigation," he said.

Only 45.02 per cent of sowing is seen this Kharif season, despite the heavy rains, less than 60 percentage registered last year by this time.

Currently sowing is done in 3,871,399 hectares out of the total 8,565,267 hectares of agricultural land.

Of that around 33 per cent sowing is for the major crops like paddy, bajra, jowar, maize, with sowing in 535,773 hectares.

About 37 per cent sowing is done for pulses in 211,751 hectares, oilseed crops as Groundnut, sesame, castor and soyabean in 1,005,042 hectares (41.52 per cent) and cash crops as cotton,

tobacco, guar seeds, vegetables and fodder in 2,118,833 hectares (50.12 per cent).

Most of the sowing has been in south Gujarat and Saurashtra region, where rains have been incessant while the central and north Gujarat regions saw low sowing.

It is feared that if the rains continue the way it has been pouring, the sowing in the maximum area can perish.



Source: IANS