Illustration by Mir Suhail/CNN News18.
Kochi: Heavy rains lashed several parts of Kerala on Monday and disrupted the Ernakulam by-election, even as the Met Dept issued an orange alert for 12 districts and warned of more downpour.
The movement of trains and vehicles through low-lying areas was affected and the state government put NDRF teams on alert in Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta to deal with the heavy rains.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asked people to exercise caution, saying: “Prepare for more downpours. Heavy rain has increased across most parts of the State. We are closely monitoring the situation. Follow instructions from local officials. Listen to instructions regarding evacuation or sheltering. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.”
So far as the elections were concerned, the worst-affected were Ernakulam and Konni constituencies, which recorded 4.9 per cent and 11.5 per cent voting till 9am respectively. Among the other three constituencies, Vatiyoorkavu witnessed 11.5 per cent, Aroor 12.8 per cent, and Manjeswaram 16.5 per cent polling till 9am.
“A few polling stations have been shifted from the ground floor to the first floor in Ernakulam Assembly constituency. Around 500 officials, including police, are making the arrangements. We will wait for the reports from the district collectors of the constituencies. We have made arrangements to transport voters to the polling stations in some places. If needed, we will extend the polling time as well,” said Tika Ram Meena, Kerala’s Chief Electoral Officer.
“In all these years, I have not lost the opportunity to cast my vote. I have never seen such rain on a voting day in my life, but I am determined to vote,” said a 78-year-old nun, who arrived at a flooded polling station in Ernakulam.
Many areas in Kochi city, including Ernakulam South, Panambilli Nagar and Ayyappankavu, were waterlogged. Three camps have been opened in Ernakulam district to relocate the people affected by rains.
Train services via stations in Ernakulam have been affected due to heavy rainfall and waterlogging, Railway officials said here on Monday. “Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town stations are waterlogged, train services in all directions through these stations will be delayed till water level recedes,” a Southern Railway spokesman said.
The situation turned worse as many people were left stranded for several hours at railway stations. While some local trains were short terminated, few long distance trains were rescheduled, officials said.
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