Rains disrupt rail-air traffic

| 10 July 2000 23:13 IST

Rail services are totally disrupted while air service is also disturbed due to non-stop heavy showers that have hit the tourist state for the last five days. The inter-state road transport however is still functioning smoothly.

Conditions are slowly coming to normal within Goa though several cities as well as coastal villages are still partially flooded while heavy downpour has begun once again since today afternoon, after a little respite in the morning.

"Showers would continue even for the next 24 hours", says S R Bajpai, director of India Meteorological Observatory. Breaking all the past records, the continuous showers which began from 6th July have recorded 85 cms of rainfall in mere five days. Normally, July records 103 cms in 31 days, but it has already reached 109 cms.

The most affected however is South Goa, especially the Salcete taluka surrounding the Margao city. Hundreds of houses have either flooded or collapsed while many houses are also damaged due to tree felling, claiming seven lives till date. Over 300 people are also displaced in and around Margao.

Strong winds which have started blowing since yesterday have also not spared areas like Canacona, Quepem, Ponda and Tiswadi (around Panaji). Besides hundreds of trees fallen in most of these areas, landslides have also caused losses to the houses, though no human loss has taken place.

The huge landslide that occurred at southern border of the state in Galgibag on the Konkan railway route, resulting into derailment of Mangla Express, is still not being cleared after five days. In addition, another landslide has occurred near Margao at Balli on Friday.

The Margao-Bombay rail traffic has also come to a total grinding halt with one more landslide occurring in Kudal in Maharashtra two days ago. As a result, no train is presently running on the Konkan railway route while KRC officials predict that it would take minimum two more days for the traffic to resume.

The air services in the tourist state are also hit by the cloudy weather, though no flights were cancelled except one on Friday, which had to go back to Bombay to fly the next day. "Almost all the flights are getting delayed", informs Arun Talwar, the local airport director.

Goa receives 13 flights every day from Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore flying up to Chennai. The weather changes so fast that one private airline flight had to remain in the air for almost 45 minutes one day, facing landing problems, says Talwar.

The only safe way thus remains to come down to Goa to 'enjoy' the rain drops is by road as all the buses are plying from Bombay, Pune, Bangalore or from Hubli and Belgaum, without any kind of disruption on the way.

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