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Maharashtra rain fury: GSM-based system helped 3.5 lakh people in Kolhapur by forewarning them of flood, says minister Satej Patil

09:03 PM Jul 25, 2021 | PTI

Mumbai: A public address system operated through GSM technology helped as many as 3.5 lakh people in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra to protect themselves as heavy rains triggered floods and caused water-logging in many areas over the last few days, guardian minister Satej Patil has said.

More than 75,000 people have been shifted to safer places in Kolhapur so far, Patil said in a statement.

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Learning its lessons from the devastating 2019 floods, the Kolhapur administration recently installed a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication)-based public address system at 57 places in Shirol and Karvir tehsils.

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The system has been funded from the annual plan of the District Planning Committee, which is headed by Patil.

This system activated during floods triggered by heavy rains, directed people to take necessary precautions such as not venturing out of their homes and shifting to safer places if required.

The system was installed in 21 villages in Karavir tehsil and 36 villages in Shirol tehsil. These villages face the risk of flooding during the monsoon every year.

"The system has benefited 3.5 lakh people as they received timely intimation about the potential risk of the flood. Villagers were informed about their shifting to safer places in advance and it helped the administration in the smooth transition of villagers. Similarly, they were also informed about the precautions they require to take during heavy rainfall and water-logging," said Patil, also MoS for Home and IT, Maharashtra.

He said this system is operated from the District Disaster Management Control Room or other offices of the district collectorate.

Speaking about its advantages, Patil said besides the low cost of operation, the system runs on solar power and does not require electricity, which is an added advantage given that power outage during natural disasters is a common occurrence.

Patil said seven people have died in rain-related incidents in the Kolhapur district so far while more than 75,000 people have been shifted to safer places.

"Six teams of the NDRF and a column of the Army carried out rescue operations in the flood-hit areas," he said.

Meanwhile, as the intensity of rains has reduced, the water level of the Panchganga river at the Rajaram weir near Kolhapur city further dipped to 53.10 feet at 9 pm on Saturday.

The vehicular traffic on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway, however, remains closed as a stretch near Shiroli village in the district is still submerged.

Talking about the evacuation, Patil told reporters that 67,111 people from flood-affected areas chose to go to their relatives' places, while over 8,000 were shifted to government shelters.

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