November 3, 2017
The inundation of several areas in South and North Chennai, besides posh residential colonies in upmarket areas of the city, lays bare the government claims of having prepared well for the northeast monsoon hollow.
But chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam on Friday sought to repair the image damage caused by the flooding of several areas in Chennai city that is making headline news on 24X7 national television channels.
After five days of rain began battering Tamil Nadu, chief minister accompanied by a team of minister and officials visited Pallikarani area, the worst affected in floods of 2015 as also current downpour of the past three days and sought to allay the fears of the residents.
The government is well prepared and is acting on the ground, which is why storage capacity of lakes and reservoirs has gone up by 30 per cent, chief minister said and added “our workers are working round the clock to ensure water logged areas get relief at the earliest.
But there were hardly any takers for these assurances and sweet talk in areas in south Chennai that were virtually cut off from rest of the city as rain water submerged colonies, sparking off fears of a repeat of 2015 floods that sank Chennai.
“The government has not learnt anything from the previous floods and has done nothing in the past two years to face any heavy downpour,” said P Alexia, an IT professional of Madipakkam area. Speaking from her residence from where coming out was difference she said that it was not possible to reach out to the market for essentials too.
Meanwhile several areas in the city were submerged by Thursday night rain even though Friday saw the sun shining brightly for the better part of the day. Only light drizzle began late in the evening. As per the met office, “heavy rain is predicted in the next 24 hours.”
In a tragic rain related death, a sixty year old farmer, Kalia Perumal of Manalgram village in Tiruvarur district got electrocuted after she stepped on a live electricity cable that snapped and fell in his fields on Friday afternoon. Overhead electric cable had snapped and fell in his farm. Farmer’s death brings the rain death toll to seven.
“We have seen no one, no government official or minister in our area even two days after our area has been cut off,” said Lakshmi S to local TV station.
With such negative publicity engulfing the government, chief minister sought to repair the damage to the extent possible,
At Narayanapuram lake area where colonies nearby were submerged by rain water, the CM told media persons that over the past three days alone, Chennai recorded 36 cm of rain. Officials were working round the clock, he maintained.Said environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman, “the first rain of northeast monsoon has brought Chennai to its knees. And one only shudders if the same amount of rain as 2015 greets Chennai it will be a bigger disaster this time.”
The government has turned a blind eye towards elite encroachments all across the city, and this will result in more flooding he said.
Residents of Mudhichur in south Chennai, also among worst affected areas in 2015 floods, said stagnant waters cut off their locality completely.
Schools and colleges were shut for the fourth consecutive day on Friday in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur district. Madras University and Anna University cancelled examinations and new schedule would be announced later.
S Balachandran, of the IMD Chennai said, “there will be heavy rain in the next 24 hours.”