Heavy rains lash parts of country, flood situation grim in Maharashtra, Kerala

New Delhi, Aug 8 (PTI) The flood situation remained grim in Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as torrential rains, gusty winds and landslips left a trail of destruction, with reports of 15 deaths on Thursday. According to the India Meteorological Department, heavy to very heavy rains are likely in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarata, Karnataka and Kerala over the next two days. Meanwhile, Delhi on Thursday witnessed a hot and humid day, with the mercury settling at 37.9 degrees Celsius. Humidity levels oscillated between 56 per cent and 88 per cent. No rainfall was recorded in the national capital. Nine people drowned after a rescue boat capsized in flood-ravaged Sangli district of Maharashtra on Thursday. Over two lakh people are living without electricity in Kolhapur and Sangli, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said here after conducting an aerial survey. Four deaths have been reported in Kolhapur in rain-related incidents so far, the chief minister said. The Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway, which passes through Kolhapur, is closed due to inclement weather. Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Fadnavis and assured him of all help to deal with the flood situation in the state. Karnataka agreed to release five lakh cusec of water from Almatti dam, located downstream on the Krishna river, an official from Fadnavis' office said. This will help to bring down the water level in the flood-affected areas in Western Maharashtra, he said. A year after the devastating deluge, northern Kerala is flooded again as heavy rains and widespread landslides claimed four lives on Thursday, taking the death toll to 32 since the monsoon began on June 6. As 'red alert' has been sounded in four districts and torrential rains submerged low-lying areas leaving people stranded in houses and isolated places, the Kerala government sought the help of Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue mission. Water level is rising in most of the rivers and dams across the state with Kannur, Wayanad, Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts facing a flood-like situation. Major rivers like Manimala, Meenachal, Moovattupuzha, Chaliyar, Valapattanam, Iruvazjinjpuzha and Pamba are in spate. Two people died in rain-related incidents in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore city, even as heavy rains lashed Nilgiris, Theni, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts, filling water bodies, including reservoirs, in these districts. In Karnataka, nine people, including six in Belagavi, two in Uttar Kannada and one Shivamogga, have died over the past few days in the various rain-related incidents. A total of 43,858 people from affected districts in northern, coastal and Malnad have been evacuated by rescue teams, official sources said. In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit Polavaram and Devipatnam regions in east and west Godavari districts, even as the water level at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage at Dowaleswaram crossed the second danger mark. Over 13.47 lakh cusecs of floodwater was flowing into the SAC Barrage on the Godavari and that much was being discharged into the Delta canal systems and Bay of Bengal, according to officials. At Polavaram, water level increased to 27.86 metres and it was rising due to heavy inflow from upstream Bhadrachalam, where the first warning signal was issued. In Odisha, a man was killed and his son went missing after being swept away in the gushing waters, while crossing a hilly stream in Belghar area of Kandhamal district. Train services remained affected for the second day on Thursday, with the Railways cancelling at least six trains for the day and three others on Friday, besides diverting a large number of passenger and express trains running on this route, an official said. Some 150 families have been evacuated in four tehsils of Goa following heavy rains and release of water from Tillari dam on the Goa-Maharashtra border, according to the state government. At least 22 crocodiles were rescued from residential areas of Gujarat's Vadodara city and district in the last one week, a Gujarat forest department official said. These reptiles had ventured into residential areas after water level in the Vishwamitri river and its tributary Dhadhar rose due to heavy rains. In Meghalaya, over 1.65 lakh people have been affected this year due to floods in two districts -- West Garo Hills and South West Garo Hills, official sources said. PTI TEAM SNESNE