Nation Current Affairs 19 Nov 2021 Incessant rain unlea ...

Incessant rain unleashes flash floods and causes havoc, Tirupati gasps for breath

Published Nov 20, 2021, 12:12 am IST
Updated Nov 20, 2021, 12:12 am IST
Deluge and devastation caused by heavy rain expose gaps in the civic armour and unplanned spending of taxpayers' money
People try to catch fish on a flooded road following heavy downpour, in Tirupati, Friday, Nov 19, 2021. (PTI Photo)
 People try to catch fish on a flooded road following heavy downpour, in Tirupati, Friday, Nov 19, 2021. (PTI Photo)

TIRUPATI: Tirupati’s new-found image of being a Smart City got drowned in floods as rain lashed the pilgrim city for the past few days and the scenario worsened from Wednesday night to Thursday.

Tirupati saw flash floods on Thursday due to heavy rain under the influence of a low-pressure area forming over the Bay of Bengal. The deluge and devastation exposed the gaps in the civic armour and question marks were raised on the unplanned spending of taxpayers' money through the Smart City project initiated by the Modi government at the Centre in 2016.


Images and videos of the flooded pilgrim city were viral on social media, showing even the small rivulets turning its course onto roads, drowning parked vehicles and buildings and troubling people and cattle as well. Pained and panicked with the chaotic scenes, the denizens began pointing accusing fingers at the civic corporation and the urban development authority.

They noted that there was nothing smart about what was done by the authorities by way of rain-preparedness other than wasting hugs sums from the exchequer.

“We have been requesting the civic authorities to build a proper drainage system in our colony for a long time but to no avail. Even when the city has heavy rainfall for a brief period, rainwater gushes down the Tirumala hills and the drain water inundates the roads in Madhura Nagar,” said a local resident.


On Friday, while some were busy drying their essentials and electronic items in the Sun, others were looking at the sky, praying that there be no more rain and Thursday’s havoc does not repeat.

It was not just the excessive rainfall that caused the flash floods. The city received the 35th highest rainfall in Chittoor district from 8.30 am on Thursday till 6 am on Friday. A rainfall of 100.2mm was recorded.

Experts say the reason for the unprecedented flooding this time was the shrinking of open spaces set in the seven hills, the buildings constructed on rivulets and small ponds on the town’s outskirts and encroachments blocking or changing the course of normal water flow.


“In the last few decades, many stormwater drains and watercourses have been concretised. This led to the gushing of water and flooding in lower areas. Many natural water collection centres or ponds have been usurped on for real estate development or other purposes.

On the outskirts of the city, like Thummalagunta Cheruvu, many ponds are now sites for buildings, parks and playgrounds,” locals observed.

The situation in the city on Friday morning was that every nook and corner was flooded. This was so even in areas that had well-constructed drainage systems. Residents are questioning the civic authorities: “What’s the use of spending taxpayers’ money on developing drainages when water still floods the streets?”