Will this monsoon be worse than Dec 2015 floods?
CHENNAI: While the memories of 2015 Chennai floods are still fresh, Chennai is gearing up for another monsoon in four months without any preparations. Or at least that’s what a local NGO says. “This year, if it rains the same way, the impact is going to be worse. The water bodies are in a really bad state,” warned Chandra Mohan, secretary, Arappor Iyakkam.
More than 200 volunteers conducted the social audit of city waterways along with the NGO. Based on the affected areas of 2015 floods, the audit was conducted on four major stretches of waterways — Pallavaram, Pallikaranai, Mugalivakkam and Villivakkam, the last two days.
According to a 1954 map, Villivakkam Lake was spread over 300 acres, but, now, in 2016 it has shrunk to just 30-40 acres. “The lake was being regularly dumped with garbage by Metro Rail work,” he said.
“The Villivakkam Lake’s channel was supposed to pass through Korattur, SIDCO Nagar, Villivakkam, Otteri and then reach Buckingham Canal. But the waterway is choked near SIDCO Nagar due to incessant dumping,” said Jayaram Venkatesan, convener, Arappor Iyakkam.
As far as Pallikaranai is concerned, Okkiyam Maduvu is the only outlet to let water into the sea, but it is a narrow stretch. After the December floods, the corporation allotted `100 crore to widen the entire 16 km stretch till Muttukadu. “We have observed that only 2 km has been widened completely; around 8 km stretch has been partially widened and the remaining 6 km is left untouched,” rued Jayaram.
He said a huge chunk of vegetation in the middle of the lake would block the water flow. “When we asked the Corporation officials about it, they said all funds have been spent and they didn’t have a penny more,” said Chandra.
At Pallavaram, according to 1971 maps, there should have been a connecting channel between Thiruppanandal and Periyar Eri. “But it’s nowhere to be found. Also, the channel that connected Adyar River was encroached upon,” added Jayaram.
“We demand action from the department officials on our observations and we also want to know their pre-monsoon preparations and monsoon plans in detail. We have got good response from the people who had wanted audits conducted in their areas,” said Chandra Mohan.