Pregnant with problems under Saidai bridge

Published: 19th May 2016 04:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th May 2016 04:56 AM   |  A+A-

Saidapet bridge

Jayanthi Pawar@ Chennai

If you think the December floods badly affected you - hear the story from a woman who faced the rising water nine months pregnant. Bhuvaneshwari is 20. Till a couple of days ago, she thought she and her baby were safe, safe from the floods that washed away her home.

“It took months for me to come out of the trauma,” she shares. The sad thing is, now living under the Saidapet bridge - along with 35 other families and nothing but tarpaulin sheets for rain cover, she’s right back where she started. After two nights of no sleep, flitting insects away from her five-month-old baby, Bhuvaneshwari has fallen ill. Her house now is a ‘coffin-sized’ 10 feet. The only place of comfort is a cot covered with two sarees. The fact that this is right next to a closed drain and among plastic waste, hardly seems to matter as her grandmother applies medicine, softly consoling her tears. Above on the Saidapet bridge, hundreds of people roll past every hour, blissfully unaware of what lies beneath.

“After the floods, we were told we will be given houses, but so far, nothing has been allocated. When we approach the officials they tell us we will be allotted the space after the elections,” says V Murugan (45), father of Bhuvaneshwari.

Around 40 per cent of the roofs of the houses on Karunanidhi Street were washed away during the floods. Not much has changed since then. With water leaking through their tarpaulin sheets these days, S Padmini (31) reminds us that the consequences are far worse than just getting wet. “For the past few days, we have not been able to cook a meal and have been forced to buy food.”

Other families have stories of children unable to sleep at night because of the dripping on their faces all night, and the disconcerting feeling of beds surrounded by water. And the only way to pass the time is to sit in the cold, dark space - which is what the underside of the bridge looks like at night, with not even a streetlight for company. Try going to the toilet in these conditions, or worse taking your five-year-old.

Despite the promise of providing alternative living arrangements still pending, K Nagamma (70) lifts up her finger. “We made sure we exercised our franchise, hoping at least the new government would make our livelihood better,” she said.

Jayanthi Pawar@ Chennai

If you think the December floods badly affected you - hear the story from a woman who faced the rising water nine months pregnant. Bhuvaneshwari is 20. Till a couple of days ago, she thought she and her baby were safe, safe from the floods that washed away her home.

“It took months for me to come out of the trauma,” she shares. The sad thing is, now living under the Saidapet bridge - along with 35 other families and nothing but tarpaulin sheets for rain cover, she’s right back where she started. After two nights of no sleep, flitting insects away from her five-month-old baby, Bhuvaneshwari has fallen ill. Her house now is a ‘coffin-sized’ 10 feet. The only place of comfort is a cot covered with two sarees. The fact that this is right next to a closed drain and among plastic waste, hardly seems to matter as her grandmother applies medicine, softly consoling her tears. Above on the Saidapet bridge, hundreds of people roll past every hour, blissfully unaware of what lies beneath.

“After the floods, we were told we will be given houses, but so far, nothing has been allocated. When we approach the officials they tell us we will be allotted the space after the elections,” says V Murugan (45), father of Bhuvaneshwari.

Around 40 per cent of the roofs of the houses on Karunanidhi Street were washed away during the floods. Not much has changed since then. With water leaking through their tarpaulin sheets these days, S Padmini (31) reminds us that the consequences are far worse than just getting wet. “For the past few days, we have not been able to cook a meal and have been forced to buy food.”

Other families have stories of children unable to sleep at night because of the dripping on their faces all night, and the disconcerting feeling of beds surrounded by water. And the only way to pass the time is to sit in the cold, dark space - which is what the underside of the bridge looks like at night, with not even a streetlight for company. Try going to the toilet in these conditions, or worse taking your five-year-old.

Despite the promise of providing alternative living arrangements still pending, K Nagamma (70) lifts up her finger. “We made sure we exercised our franchise, hoping at least the new government would make our livelihood better,” she said.

Sri Lankan refugee electrocuted

A 54-year-old Sri Lankan refugee was electrocuted at the refugee camp in Tiruvallur district on Tuesday evening. The victim, Ranganathan alias Ranga, a native Trincomalee, had been residing in the camp for the last few years. The incident occured when Ranga attempted to fix a fault in the electrical junction box. Other inmates at the camp rushed him to a private hospital near Puzhal. However, doctors declared him brought dead. Police filed a case and moved the body to the Stanley medical college and hospital.

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