CHENNAI: The unprecedented flood that battered Chennai in the last one month invited several expert comments that the deluge was a direct consequence of climate change that has increased the frequency and intensity of hydro-meteorological disasters. While the heavy downpour can be ascribed to the changing climate, it is unfair to relate all such events to global weather patterns, according to experts from TERI.
“Chennai has not been a stranger to heavy winter rains. They have been happening in regular intervals, once in every 10 years to be precise,” said Dhar Chakrabarti, distinguished fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), referring to the downpour that occurred in 1969, 1976, 1985, 1996, 1998, 2005 and the latest 2015. “By this time the city should have been prepared to handle such events, but the pace at which the development works have been taking place of late they have overlooked at the new risks incurred,” said Dhar.
In the race of development, experts state that all precautions of erecting a structure have been ignored, like the new airport built on the floodplains of the Adyar river, MRTS constructed almost wholly over the Buckingham Canal and Pallikaranai marshlands, new expressways and bypass roads obstructing natural flow of water and so on. “The State has incurred a loss of Rs 12,000 crore due to the recent floods, which could have been avoided had they conducted a study on the risks involved,” he said.