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Rains claim 19 lives in Maharashtra
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, June 24
Heavy rains in Maharashtra since Saturday claimed 19 lives and deprived thousands of people of their homes as the monsoon fury reached the state. Five persons died in Mumbai as old buildings and shanties collapsed in the face of heavy rains and strong winds.

According to the MET office nearly 12 cm of rainfall was reported in South and Central Mumbai flooding low lying areas. Areas like Lower Parel, Lalbaug and other parts of central Mumbai were inundated. Water levels rose five feet in many of these areas, according to city fire brigade officials.

Railway officials said train services in the Western and Central railway lines were running about 20 minutes late. However delays in train services did not have much impact on people's lives because of the weekend.

Among the worst affected was the suburb of Kalina in Mumbai which lies on the bank of the Mithi river. Though the authorities insist that the riverbed has been deepened since the disastrous floods of July 2005, Kalina and the residential colonies of Air India and Indian Airlines located on the airport land were flooded today as well.

The city police said two persons were killed when parts of a building on the Maulana Shaukat Ali Road in South Mumbai collapsed. Three more deaths were reported in other parts of the city.

The deceased in the building mishap have been identified as Mohammed. Aslam Khan (42) and Meher Firdaus (18). The victims were finishing work inside the shop on the ground floor of the building when the structure came down.

Almost all the subways that connect the eastern and western parts of Mumbai like the Dahisar, Milan and Santa Cruz subways were under waist deep water.

Railway authorities said train traffic is crawling at railway stations like Ghatkopar, Kurla, Vidyavihar, Matunga and Sion.

“Intermittent rainfall with thunderstorms and strong winds upto 30 km per hour are expected to lash across the city in the next 24 hours” the bulletin from the MET office said. Meanwhile warnings have been issued to fishermen not to venture into the sea along the Maharashtra and Goa coast. Ports have also been told to remain alert and take necessary precautions.

The toll from other parts of the state is said to be rising. Heavy rains have been reported from Nasik, Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar and Ahmednagar towns. With rain fury continuing for the fifth day today, emergency measures have been undertaken at many places.

The authorities have warned that the Godavari at Nashik may overflow if the rains continue for the next few days.

Reports of people drowning in swollen streams and deaths by electrocution are also coming in from many parts of Maharashtra.

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