TAMIL NADU:As heavy rain lashes Tamil Nadu, especially the coastal areas, one rain-related death was reported from Cuddalore district, about 190 km from Chennai. A woman was reportedly killed when a wall of her home collapsed. Overnight rain has badly affected several parts of the city as well as areas outside that have no storm water drains.
The weather office said the heavy rain is the result of northeast monsoon that hit the southern coast a few days ago. The meteorological office has forecast heavy rain in Chennai and “very heavy rainfall” in coastal Tamil Nadu. The heavy spell is expected to continue for next 2-3 days, MeT Director S Balachandran said. He added that about 16 places have already recorded very heavy rainfall and 21 places heavy rainfall.
However, D Jayakumar, Fisheries Minister, said that there is no need to worry as the government is prepared. “We have the capacity to handle the situation like the foreign countries. We are prepared,” he said.
It’s been a traffic nightmare as many areas in the state have remained waterlogged since yesterday. Heavy traffic jams were reported from across Chennai after it rained the whole day. A tree that fell in Mambalam area blocked traffic, close to the commercial hub of T Nagar. Schools and colleges in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Puducherry have remained closed today.
Residents in extension areas pointed out that many areas in the city still don’t have storm water drains to let out rain water forcing them to wade through knee-deep water mixed with sewage to get to stores buy essential items.
While speaking to NDTV, Sumathi, a resident of Chennai’s Puzhuthivakkam, said, “We pay taxes. But we get nothing. It’s been six years since this area became part of Chennai Corporation. Why is then there a delay in establishing a functional storm water drain?”
Further away in Chitlapakkam, where floods-like situation prevails with overflowing lake waters flowing on the streets, Raj Meenakshi, a resident added, “Water has entered our homes. We fear a disease outbreak here as the rain water is now mixed with sewage. I am worried what’s going to happen next. I don’t want to see a repeat of 2015.”
She added that there has been no improvement in the situation since the floods two years ago. “The authorities haven’t taken any measures. They need to build canals to let water out.”
However, the Chennai Municipal Corporation continues to claim that the city is ready for the rain and storm water drains are being built in extension areas. “Storm water drains have been cleaned and about 300 chronic water stagnation points have been identified. We have readied 400 suction pumps to remove water during heavy rain,” Dr D Karthikeyan, Chennai Municipal Corporation Commissioner, said.
In December 2015, Chennai was inundated after the heaviest rainfall in over a century, paralysing the airport and flooding factories in the state that is home to nearly 70 million people. The Navy and Coast Guard had joined rescue operations. At least 150 people had died in the state.