Pumping out water

Too much rain catches city corporation off guard
Chennai: There was no repeat of David vs Goliath in Chennai corporation’s attempt to fight the city’s inundation. The rainfall was too much to handle for the city’s inadequate stormwater drain network, exposing residents to the mercy of Chennai’s modern day Goliath, the northeast monsoon.
Corporation officials are not entirely at fault. For the record, they did organise inter departmental meetings and conducted periodical rain preparedness programs. According to Commissioner Vikram Kapur, the local body had even desilted drains in a handful of localities and managed to clear over 6,000 tonne of silt.
Nevertheless, Millers Road at Purasawalkam was completely submerged on Friday. It was one of the roads where desilting work was carried out by the local body before monsoon made landfall, in a nearly two-week long operation.
On Friday, vehicles and pedestrians were stranded as the de-silted drain was clearly unable to carry off the excess water. Officials said Millers Road happened to be the lower most point in that area.
“We had water from Ormes Road, Kellys Road and even the Purasawalkam and Poonamallee High Road drain inwards into Millers Road. The volume of water is unbelievable. We have been pumping out water nonstop for the last 24 hours and it is yet not over,” said an official.
“It didn’t help that the Otteri Nullah too was full. As rainfall continued, the intake into the drain was just too much for it to
handle. ‘Deluge’ is the appropriate word to describe the Millers Road condition,” the official added.
Interestingly, deluge was the appropriate word to describe the scene around Chennai city on Friday. Officials continued to maintain that they had no problem whatsoever in their relief operations.
“Downpour was the only major issue we had to bear. Otherwise, pumps and tree cutting saws were all in place and were promptly employed to clear out water,” a senior official said.
However, the heavy downpour did open the eyes of the local body to a larger problem.
Well before the onset of monsoon, the corporation had identified 588 locations in the city as stagnation prone. But Friday’s deluge changed that opinion. “There were at least twice as many locations which had been flooded.
It is more than likely to change our plans next year,” an official said.
Next year is still sometime away but with the meteorological department predicting more rainfall in the coming week, is the corporation bracing itself?

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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