New Delhi: Heavy rainfall threw life out of gear in several districts of Maharashtra on Saturday. Meanwhile, a red alert has been issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for Sunday, signifying further spell of downpour in Mumbai, Palghar, Thane, and Raigad districts of Maharashtra for July 27 to July 28. This weather alert denotes the possibility of very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall.

“Due to the strengthening of monsoon currents and the formation of a low-pressure area over North West Bay of Bengal, the rainfall intensity is very likely to increase over North Konkan during next 48 hours,” stated an IMD advisory.

Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said it was prepared for the monsoon onslaught and asked citizens to be careful.

“BMC has alerted its citizens about the possibility of extremely heavy rainfall tomorrow accompanied by lightning during the day. The civic machinery, including the Disaster Management Cell, has been put on alert,”a civic body spokesperson told PTI.

Stranded Passengers in Mahalaxmi Express Rescued:

Around 1000 passengers who were stranded in Mahalaxmi Express due to flash floods in Thane district were rescued by teams from the NDRF, Navy, IAF, Railways and state administration.

The heavy rains which caused the Ulhas river to breach its banks had stalled the Mahalaxmi Express between Badlapur and Wangani station in the neighbouring Thane district.

A team of NDRF personnel reached the spot with eight boats followed by three diving teams and some Naval teams equipped with inflatable boats, life jackets, and medical supplies. A helicopter with equipped divers also rendered help but due to bad weather, the helicopters of Navy and Air Force returned to base after conducting an aerial survey.

The Western Naval Command monitored and kept the state Administration informed about the situation. They also provided much-needed assistance to the people in flood-affected areas.

After the successful rescue operations, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday commented, “Teams of NDRF, Navy, IAF, Railways and state administration have safely rescued all the 700 passengers stranded on Mahalaxmi Express near Mumbai. We were closely monitoring the entire operation. Kudos to the rescue teams for their exemplary effort.”

In a statement in the evening, Central Railway informed that over 1,000 passengers rescued from the Mumbai- Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Express earlier on Saturday afternoon made their onward journey in a special train that left from Kalyan at 6:10 pm. The train will go via Manmad, Pune and Daund to Kolhapur, CR chief public relations officer Sunil Udasi said.

Mumbai-Goa National Highway Shut For Traffic:

Following the heavy rains, the Mumbai-Goa national highway in Maharashtra was shut for traffic since Saturday morning as river Jagbudi of coastal Ratnagiri district flooded, police said. The torrential rains since Friday night also triggered a flood-like situation in some parts of Thane, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts.

An official noted that the river water gushed on the highway near Khed in Ratnagiri district this morning. Savitri and Amba rivers in Mahad and Pali in Raigad district are also in spate following which traffic at Nagothane and on Khopoli-Pali road has been suspended. Personnel of disaster response force and police are deployed in those areas to avoid any untoward incident, the official added.

Air, Rail and Road Traffic Severely Hit

At least 11 flights were cancelled and nine were diverted at Mumbai International airport following incessant rains. Because of massive waterlogging, suburban train lines were also severely hit. Speaking to PTI, Central Railway chief spokesperson Sunil Udasi said that heavy rainfall and an overflowing Ulhas river resulted in waterlogging at Ambernath due to which a few trains were short-terminated or cancelled.

As per the reports of PTI, traffic jams were reported from major Mumbai city junctions like Sion, Matunga, Mahim, Andheri, Malad and Dahisar owing to heavy waterlogging. Besides, traffic in Juhu Tara Road, Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road, several stretches of SV Road and on the parts of Western Express Highway were also crippled.

(With Agency inputs)