Chennai: The rainfall of a single day on Monday was sufficient to send the alarm bells ringing in Chennai. The weather had changed from wet to dry on Tuesday when waterlogging proved the biggets problem. The first major spell of rain in the northeast monsoon, however, saw five rain-related deaths across the State.
Post the 2015-Chennai floods, the State government and Chennai corporation spent more than Rs 1,100 crore constructing 376 kilometres of storm water drains but they seem to have gone down the drain, unable as they were to withstand the first spell of heavy rain.
North Chennai saw heavy waterlogging and normal life was affected in parts of Vyasarpadi, Pulianthope, Otteri, Royapuram and Tiruvotriyur. As usual Velachery, Madippakkam, Tambaram, Ambattur and Korattur saw storm water entering houses in a replay of the 2015 flood horror.
As part of measures to prevent flooding during monsoon, encroachements were removed near water-courses, Local Administration Minister S P Velumani said. When reporters posed a volley of questions on water-logging in several parts of the city, the minister said the number of such water-logged places had come down to ‘a mere’ 49 from 1,490 some years ago.
He said before 2011 (pre-AIADMK regime), it would take at least 15 days for the rainwater to recede but that was not the case now.
It was only due to the comprehensive action by the present government that the areas of rainwater stagnation had come down significantly, said minister Velumani, adding that even those few areas of water-logging would be cleaned up by the end of the day-he obviously did not take into account the fresh fears of more monsoon rains and the deficient preparations still dogging the ground-level workforce.
Minister Velumani said such problems of rainwater flooding existed in many cities, including in developed nations. “Bengaluru witnessed floods in rains... it was said that London and America floated due to rains, we have taken steps (to handle rain-floods) that were not taken even in developed nations,” he said.
He said late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had procured all necessary equipments to tackle the rain-floods and added that action was being taken and it “has won all-round appreciation.”