5 killed as heavy downpour hits Sikkim

The continuous heavy rainfall which led to landslides killed five people in Sikkim on September 20.

Around 2 am a house collapsed after a landslide hit it following incessant rainfall at Upper Gurpisey, among the five people in the house three were killed and two survived with severe injuries. The deceased have been identified as Nikhil Rai(11), Nikita Rai(15) and Passingkt Bhutia(21). The injured were rushed to the Namchi Hospital and the buried bodies were taken out by the rescue team later.

The second landslide which occurred around 3 am at Upper Bokrong ward, Katong Namphok GPU took away the lives of a woman and her daughter as their house collapsed. The deceased woman has been identified as Manju and her daughter Angel.

Transportation has come to a standstill as all the roads in the area have been blocked and damaged.

A disaster control room had been set up at the Namchi Police Station said, SSP Pratap Pradhan. The district administration has further sought additional forces for search and rescue process.

The officials said that families have been evacuated from vulnerable areas.

Sources: Times of India, NDTV 

Image source: Scroll

Pune records highest rains in last four years

Pune city got 50% excess rainfall this year in the month of June. The city received 200.7 mm precipitation since the onset of monsoon, as per the data of Meteorological Department. It was 70mm more than normal June rainfall.

Pune made its place in the top 5 wettest districts, with Mahabaleshwar getting the highest rains at 180mm following Pune, Harnai (90 mm), Alibaug (70 mm) and Ratnagiri (40mm) in Konkan district as on Friday.

AK Srivastava, head, climate monitoring and analysis group at IMD, Pune said, “With the positive climate frameworks causing downpours over Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra anticipated that would move towards north, there might be a slight lessening in the precipitation power in the start of one week from now”.  However, the dams that supply water to Pune city are yet to see a calculable ascent in their water levels — Pawana and Panshet dams are 30 for every penny full while the circumstance in Warasgaon and Temghar are yet to see a change. IMD authorities have said that the power of the precipitation will decrease somewhat in the following a few days, and will increment again by July 5. ” clarified AK Srivastava, head, atmosphere observing and examination amass at IMD, Pune.

Despite heavy rainfall, Pawana and Panshet dams are 30% full.  IMD authorities have analysed rainfall to decrease in a few days, and will increment again by July 5.

Sources: Indian Express, Times of India

Five Bodies found from The Savitri River as Rescue OPS Proceed in Full Flow

Over 29 people who have been missing since Thursday as two buses were swept away by the swollen Savitri River after a British-era bridge caved in on the Mumbai Goa Highway,a 300 kg magnet was lowered this morning in a lost hope of finding the buses and the people in it, as they were feared to have been washed away into the Arabian Sea.

Two days later the bridge collapsed on Thursday morning, a magnet of 300 kilos was lowered into the 40 ft deep river by a crane and local official was quoted “Something has got stuck to the magnet and efforts are on to pull it out of the river.”

Raigad Additional Superintendent of Police on Thursday evening announced that the rescue teams are constantly working on the rescue of the missing people. Sanjay Patil told, “So far, our search teams have recovered five bodies- three males and two females.”

On resuming the rescue operations at 6:30 am on Thursday with radius increased from 30kms to 100kms five bodies were found; amongst which, the ill fated bus driver has been identified as SS Kamble who was recognised by his uniform and name tag. His body was found 100 kilometres away from the mishap spot in the Arabian Sea. The identities of the three others are yet to be confirmed.

Along with the Coast Guard and other private agencies, four teams of NDRF, comprising of 40 members each have joined in the rescue and relief operations.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced a judicial probe into the matter.

“A judicial inquiry will be conducted,” Fadnavis said replying to a discussion on the issue in the state Assembly.

 

Read more at scroll.in, hindustantimes.com, dnaindia.com

Managing water one ‘step’ at a time

IMG_20130807_173240
Pradeep Pawde: ” Everyone supported the idea. Half of the financial help came from the villagers only.”

The relationship between droughts and Kumbharwadi in Ahmednagar district goes back to the 1970s where the village suffered immense hunger and poverty. But today, the story of Kumbharwadi is completely different as it religiously follows ‘water-budgeting’ that helps the villagers in keeping a track of the amount of water being used every week.

In a small chat with Pradeep Pawde, the manager of the village’s water-budgeting, acquaints us with what prompted them to opt for it, the villagers’ contribution and the change it has brought in their agricultural activities.

Q. Why did the village decide to go for water-budgeting system?

A. The watershed development programme initiated by WOTR treated the shallow soils of the village. So, water would get stored easily. But due to less rainfall, the water levels started decreasing. On top of it, we were using the water injudiciously. Last year, when we experienced drought again, WOTR suggested this system.

Q. Who financed this programme?

A. After suggested we go for water-budgeting system, I immediately called for a village meeting to get everyone’s opinion. Luckily, everyone supported the idea. Half of the financial help came from the villagers only and the other half from WOTR.

Q. How does this programme work?

A. See, this is a special programme which happens only after the watershed development program has been implemented. Here, that started in 1998 and ended on 2002. The water-budgeting table shows total area of the village, availability of water, temperature, pressure, wind intensity and speed, rainfall measurement of Kumbharwadi. It is updated every week. So, we know how much water is being used. Borewells and open wells are also being measured to find out the groundwater level.

Q. How has this new programme affected the villagers?

A. People are now using water more carefully. They now realize the value of water more.

IMG_20130807_172125
The water-budgeting table: Painted on the outer wall of a village house

Q. How are the farmers managing?

A. Crops like tomatoes and onions that require flood irrigation are not being grown anymore. Instead, pomegranates are being grown. They are also using water saving devices like sprinkles. This year, about 30 farmers installed drip irrigation of one hectare each.

Q. So, have they earned any profits yet?

A. It’s been just one year. I can’t say. Initially, only four farmers started drip irrigation. This year, the number reached 30. Next year, who knows? Before water-budgeting, there was no mechanism. Now they can assess rainfall and thus groundwater available after the rains. Accordingly, crops to be planted in the winters can be planned. If there is surplus, summer plans can also be planned.