40 villages still marooned

40 villages still marooned
Highlights

25,000 families stranded in Konaseema Toll rises to 16 Poll put off in 298 gram panchayats Relief...

  • 25,000 families stranded in Konaseema
  • Toll rises to 16
  • Poll put off in 298 gram panchayats
  • Relief and rescue operations stepped up

Hyderabad: Rescue and relief operations were stepped up on Sunday in flood-hit areas of East Godavari district as part of efforts to reach out to 25,000 families left stranded in 40 villages. Godavari continued to flow above danger level for the third day on Sunday at both Dhowleswaram and Bhadrachalam while rain-related incidents claimed 16 lives so far.

According to officials, while four more died in Karimnagar, one had lost life in Nizamabad. Four others were washed away as a boat capsized in East Godavari district. Their fate is not yet known. Earlier, until Saturday the rain-related incidents had claimed 11 lives. Some 20,000 people had already been shifted to 100 relief camps with the help of six choppers of the Indian Air Force and locally available boats.

Meanwhile, elections due to be held on July 23 for 298 gram panchayats in six districts were postponed by the State Election Commission due to floods. Now, the polls will be held in the third phase on July 31. The gram panchayats where the polls have been put off are: 170 in Adilabad; 111 in Khammam; 6 in East Godavari; 5 in Karimnagar, 2 in Nizamabad and 4 in Warangal districts.

A majority of these gram panchayats were supposed to go for elections in the first phase on July 23. As district collectors from these districts wrote to the Election Commissioner Ramakanth Reddy requesting the postponement, the Commissioner took note of the difficulties in conducting the polls and announced his decision.

The flood level in Godavari touched 16.9 metres at Dhowleswaram on Sunday while it receded to 55.9 feet (danger level being 53 feet) at Bhadrachalam. However, officials said the flood level is likely to recede at Bhadrachalam while it will maintain at the same level at Rajahmundry. The flood damage is said to be quite extensive as thousands of acres of standing crops have been lying under sheets of water along the river banks.

To ascertain the flood situation, Union Minister of State for Social Justice Balram Naik along with State Minister R Venkat Reddy made an aerial survey of the flood-hit Bhadrachalam. Several villages in Konavaram mandal of Khammam district have lost contact with the outside world. The Met office has forecast more rains due to the impact of another low pressure area formed over north-west Bay of Bengal.

It is likely to bring heavy rains at isolated places in the coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari districts besides Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam districts in Telangana during the next 48 hours.

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