Chennai: With hardly two months left for the onset of northeast monsoon in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring state Kerala facing floods and destruction from unprecedented rains, residents in the city and suburbs are reminded about the grim situation they faced during heavy rains and subsequent floods during December 2015 floods.
While urban development experts point their fingers at stakeholders like Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), Public Works Department, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board (CMWSSB) and other government agencies for not gearing up to handle flood-like situation, if there is any heavy rains, officials concerned deny the charges stating that works relating to pre-monsoon have been undertaken and will continue.
Meanwhile, residents of southern suburbs, marooned in the 2015-floods, said that officials have taken up very little work after floods. P. Viswanathan, coordinator of Chitlapakkam Residents Welfare Association, recounted, “Residential areas on the southern stretch of Chitlapakkam bordering Selaiyur and Tambaram- Velachery high road and Pallikaranai witnessed startling inundation and water-logging. Further, we conducted a study, which revealed that rainwater entered residential areas owing to large scale encroachment, obstruction and virtual disappearance of water channels connecting the lakes like Chitlapakkam, Sembakkam and Selaiyur.” He said the government had assured residents of evolving a new mechanism to prevent floods in southern suburbs, particularly in Chitlapakkam.
M. G. Devasahayam, an urban development expert and a former civil servant, said officials have not learned any lesson from 2015-floods. Also, GCC and CMDA are giving approval for constructing buildings without checking places.
“PWD and GGC have done very few pre-monsoon works like widening Cooum and Adyar rivers and evicting hundreds of people living along banks of rivers. However, this is not enough and is an eyewash,” the expert opined....