Chennai: Scars of devastating floods refuse to go away especially in the worst affected areas across Adyar river even after a year. The suffering of people, who were left hapless overnight due to the unprecedented floods that washed away all their belongings, will be etched in their memory till their last breath.
The fear has just not gone. It’s still evident very much in Jaffarkhanpet and Saidapet where a considerable number of houses and apartments on the ground floor are vacant. Tenants would just not move into these accommodations – however big or small they are – for the fear of water coming inside their houses if there is a repeat of “December 1, 2015”.
Once a much sought after low rent locality with good connectivity to bus and train, “tolet” boards outside the houses and hanging on street light posts could be seen widely in Thiru Nagar in Jaffarkhanpet.
“At least 30 to 35 ground floor flats or independent houses to be given for rent are lying vacant in West Jaffarkhanpet with no takers for it,” D. Appu, a real estate agent in Thiru Nagar, told DC.
“Of them, about 10 such houses are remaining vacant for over a period of 10 months,” he said adding that the rental houses in the flood prone low lying areas have no takers as people fearing that another flood would affect them badly.
“Large number of houses is lying vacant despite substantial fall in the rent by 10-20 per cent,” he said. C. Krishnan, who lives in Vasudevan Nagar on River Side Road in the area and whose house was extensively damaged in the 2015 floods, says the magnitude of the last year’s floods was huge that people get scared the moment they hear the word “rain”.
“Many people are yet to overcome the fear caused by floods. Though many of them had experienced flooding in their localities earlier, never before water level rose to first floor of the buildings and in some low-lying areas it went up to second floor causing maximum damage. Many people living in rental homes in the ground floors had vacated and moved out of the area,” he said.
Though his house suffered extensive damage, Mr Krishnan has not left the area since he can’t pay higher rent elsewhere. After the floodwater had receded, he repaired the house with new asbestos sheet roof. “We lost all the household items including fridge, air conditioner and vessels in the flood. When the police alerted about the imminent flood, we took the books of our children, laptop and LED TV and left our house locked. We never expected the flood water to rise to such level,” he lamented.
The situation is no different in the worst affected parts of Saidapet, particularly in the areas located close to Adyar river that sustained maximum damage. K. Muthukumar, a resident of Abith Colony in Saidapet, said since those residing in the ground floor suffered maximum damage, people do not prefer to take ground floor houses for rent.
“In our locality alone, there are six buildings or land available for sale that has no takers,” he noted. S. Senthil, a long-time resident of Abith Colony, said that PWD official has taken up works to strengthen the bunds of Adyar river on Saidapet side on Tuesday. “It only shows that the government was not bothered about the sufferings of the local people. It took one year for PWD to take up the work to strengthen the bund. If it had rained heavily like last year, we would have suffered yet another flood,” he said.