Ahmedabad: Newly sworn-in Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Monday held a high-level meeting with top officials to review the flood-like situation in some parts of the Saurashtra region and instructed the authorities to airlift stranded people in rain-hit Jamnagar district.
Heavy rains battered parts of the Saurashtra region on Monday, leading to the death of three people in Rajkot and Jamnagar as rivers overflowed and low-lying areas got flooded, prompting the authorities to issue alerts and deploy NDRF and SRDF teams for evacuation and relief.
Bhupendra Patel, who was elected unopposed by the BJP MLAs as the next CM on Sunday after the resignation of Vijay Rupani a day before, took oath as the 17th chief minister at the Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar.
Prior to the swearing-in ceremony, Bhupendra Patel first met Deputy Chief Minister in the Rupani government Nitin Patel at the latter’s residence in Ahmedabad city.
Bhupendra Patel then reached Gandhinagar and met Rupani at the latter’s residence in the morning and held discussion on various issues, said a release by the state government.
Before taking oath, Bhupendra Patel, as CM-designate, instructed the Jamnagar district authorities to make necessary arrangements to airlift around 35 stranded persons of three villages, which were inundated and cut off from other parts of the district due to incessant rain on Sunday.
According to Jamnagar district’s disaster management wing, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been requested to airlift people stranded in some of the villages of Kalavad and Jamnagar talukas.
After taking the oath of office and secrecy on Monday afternoon, the CM immediately chaired a meeting in Gandhinagar to review the flood-like situation in some parts of Saurashtra region, especially Rajkot and Jamnagar district, said a government release.
Bhupendra Patel called the Jamnagar district collector and asked him to expedite rescue operations with the help of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and shift stranded people to safer places, said the release.
The CM also instructed the Rajkot collector and Rajkot Municipal Commissioner to move people living in low-lying areas to safer places.
The Rajkot authorities informed the CM that as many as 1,155 people have already been evacuated. The CM asked the senior officials to deploy three teams of the NDRF in Rajkot and two in Jamnagar to help stranded people, the release said.
Meanwhile, IAF helicopters were pressed into service in Jamnagar and Rajkot to airlift people, district authorities said.
Lodhika taluka in Rajkot received 435 millimetres of rainfall in a 10-hour period since 6 am on Monday, while Visavadar taluka in Junagadh got 364 mm, Kalavad in Jamnagar 348 mm, Rajkot taluka 305 mm, Dhoraji in Rajkot 202 mm, Kotdasangani in Rajkot 190 mm, Gondal in Rajkot 162 mm, State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) officials said.
A woman and two men drowned after their cars were washed away in heavy rains in two separate incidents in Kalavad in Rajkot and Jam Jodhpur in Jamnagar districts, respectively, officials said.
Several teams of the NDRF and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were rushed to Rajkot, Junagadh and Jamnagar, they said.
Around 20 people were airlifted by IAF helicopters from various villages in Jamnagar district and 30 others rescued as well, Collector Sourabh Pardhi said.
Rajkot Collector Arun Mahesh Babu informed that IAF choppers were preparing to airlift 22 people from three villages in his district.
“So far, we have relocated a total 1,155 people to safe places in the district, and the process continues. A team of the NDRF from Bhatinda in Punjab and two teams of SDRF from Banaskantha and Vadodara will be here to help in rescue operations,” Babu said.
Pardhi said two teams of the NDRF and one of SDRF were carrying out rescue operations in affected areas in Jamnagar.
An SEOC official said a part of the national highway between Jamnagar and Kalavad was blocked due to flooding, while six state highways in Jamnagar, Amreli and Porbandar districts and 58 village roads in different districts were affected.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has forecast widespread rainfall across Gujarat till Wednesday, including “heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated extremely heavy rainfall in a few places in the districts of Saurashtra during the next four days”.
Parts of south Gujarat and other districts may also receive heavy to very heavy rainfall during this period, the IMD added.