CHENNAI: Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan rejected the charge that the State government had not given sufficient alert to the people about the release of surplus water from lakes. “In accordance with the Rules for Flood Regulation of the Compendium of Rules for Regulation, prior intimation of the releases including of step up of releases was given by the Assistant Engineer, who is the Controlling Officer,” he said.
The alert was given to the District Collector of Chennai and Kancheepuram, Commissioner of Police, Chennai, Corporation of Chennai and others requesting them to take all necessary precautionary measures, like evacuation of the people living in the flood plain of the Adyar River.
Accordingly, flood warnings were given by the Collector, Chennai and other officials in the media and precautionary measures were taken up by the officials of the District Administration and Corporation of Chennai. The Collector of Chennai issued a first flood warning when the discharge reached 7,500 cusecs at 11.20 a.m. on December 1 and a second flood warning when the discharge reached 20,000 cusecs at 1.32 pm on the same day. The warnings were aired on TV channels and FM Radio channels. There were at least 20 repetitions of the warning in the major regional TV channels 12 noon onwards. In fact all evening papers reported that 20,000 cusecs have been released.
Police and fire service personnel along with revenue and corporation officials went from street to street alerting the people about the water release through megaphone.
Immediately after the second warning, the Collector of Chennai and Corporation of Chennai, in close coordination with Chennai city police, started the safe evacuation of people from the low lying areas, including Saidapet, Jafferkhanpet, Kotturpuram and Ramapuram. Over 30,000 people were evacuated. The Collector of Kancheepuram evacuated 17,300 people, he said.