Flood Situation In Cities Of Gujarat, Situation Worsened; Opposition Blames The State Govt

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a warning five days prior, predicting extremely heavy rainfall that would necessitate a red alert in the central and southern regions of Gujarat.

Rescue teams were able to move 9,600 people to safety in Gujarat amid floods due to heavy rain.

More than 600 individuals who were trapped in floodwaters were successfully rescued, and nearly 12,000 people were relocated to shelters and safer areas due to heavy rainfall causing flood-like conditions in multiple districts of Gujarat on September 18.

Continuous heavy rains led to the overflow of the Narmada dam and nine other reservoirs for the second consecutive day on Monday. In response, state authorities deployed teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and initiated the evacuation of vulnerable residents to secure locations.

In an official statement, the government reported that approximately 11,900 individuals residing in low-lying areas of districts including Vadodara, Bharuch, Narmada, Dahod, Panchmahal, Anand, and Gandhinagar have been relocated to safe shelters. These shelters also provide essential services, including food and healthcare.

The Chief Minister, in a released statement, announced his coordination with district collectors in the affected districts where heavy rains prevailed. Currently, 10 contingents from both NDRF and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are actively engaged in rescue operations at various locations.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Gujarat can anticipate heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in specific areas.

On September 18, extensive rainfall battered central, northern, and Saurashtra regions, with over 100 talukas reporting heavy precipitation since September 17. Meanwhile, political controversies surrounding the release of Narmada waters from the Sardar Sridhar dam, which contributed to floods in Nardana, Bharuch, and parts of Vadodara district, intensified. The opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Gujarat government of deliberately delaying the release of water to coincide with the Prime Minister's birthday on September 17.

On September 18, both the Congress and the AAP asserted that the State government had withheld the release of dam water when farmers needed it and instead chose to retain it until the reservoir overflowed.

The principal opposition party described it as a "man-made disaster" and alleged that the sudden release of water initially caused flooding in the downstream Bharuch district, resulting in "extensive damage" affecting "hundreds of thousands of people" in Narmada, Bharuch, and Vadodara districts.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi informed the media that "Despite heavy rains in Madhya Pradesh and continuous monitoring of water levels in the Narmada dam, the authorities did not release a sufficient amount of water on September 15 and 16. They waited for the dam to overflow on September 17, coinciding with someone's birthday celebration. As a consequence, Bharuch and Narmada districts have been inundated." According to Mr. Doshi, the timely release of water from the dam could have prevented flooding in up to five districts of the state.

“The quantum of water released on Sunday, that was PM’s birth day, was so big — 18 lakh cusecs — that it flooded towns and cities located downstream including Bharuch, Narmada and parts of Vadodara.”

“This is a man-made flood. We demand all concerned officials to be booked for criminal negligence and confiscate their property for paying compensation to the flood victims,” he added.

On September 17, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel traveled to Kevadiya, the location of the Narmada dam, to celebrate the overflow of the dam and the release of its waters by opening the dam gates. This significant event coincided with Prime Minister Modi's 73rd birthday.

According to leaders from the Congress and AAP, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a warning five days prior, predicting extremely heavy rainfall that would necessitate a red alert in the central and southern regions of Gujarat. In light of this, they argue that by artificially causing the Narmada dam to overflow and releasing a substantial volume of water over the past two days, residents downstream of the dam, particularly in Bharuch, have become victims of a man-made flood.

However, the State government's spokesperson and Cabinet Minister Rishikesh Patel dismissed these allegations and maintained that the release of water was a necessity due to the substantial inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh.