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Rains batter Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar; over 54,000 relocated to safer places

Heavy rains pounded Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar districts on Thursday, disrupting rail and road traffic, even as people dissatisfied with relief measures clashed with police in Arvalli district.
Swirling floodwaters washed a part of a railway line, leading to suspension of 36 trains from the Ahmedabad division of Western Railway. Six trains were diverted, one was rescheduled and 14 were short-terminated, Railway officials said.
State administration officials said 54,517 people have been shifted to safer places over the last one week due to flooding of low-lying areas.
Ahmedabad gauged over 200 mm of rainfall in 24 hours till 6 pm on Thursday, forcing relocation of more than 10,000 people even as the Sabarmati river swelled due to the release of water from the Dharoi dam and the Vasna barrage, district collector Avantika Singh said.
Several localities in the city were waterlogged. The administration announced that schools and colleges will remain closed on Friday too.
At least three persons were injured when an old house crumbled in the Old City area last night, while over five dozen trees were uprooted.
Several incidents of fire due to short circuit were also reported though there was no major damage.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani toured affected areas in the city in a boat to take stock of the situation.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation warned people not to venture near electricity poles and streetlights to avoid electrocution.
Relief and rescue operations were intensified in the badly-affected districts of Banaskantha and Patan after a let-up in rainfall, with 15 Indian Air Force helicopters and 10 National Disaster Response Force, 11 State Disaster Response Force and six Border Security Force teams working in the region, officials said.
Twenty-one IAF helicopters were pressed into service on Thursday which rescued 138 people and dropped 27.37 tons of food packets, a defence release said.
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