CHENNAI: Two days of heavy rain left the city’s southern suburbs waterlogged. Residents are worried that the monsoon may turn out to be a perfect sequel to the nightmarish floods of 2015.
Within 48 hours of the onset of the first spell of monsoon rain, water entered some houses at Krishna Nagar and Lakshmipuram at Mudichur, and forced residents to vacate and find alternative accommodation. “I have lived in Mudichur my whole life. I’m seeing floods like this only in the last five years,” said K Ramya.
Mudichur, a residential suburb close to Tambaram, was one of the worst-affected areas in the floods of 2015 and remained submerged for almost a month. The immediate flooding this year clearly proves almost nothing has changed.
“The municipality hurriedly began work to complete a stormwater drain three months ago and hasn’t completed it,” said V Perumal, sweeping away water that had entered his shop at Krishna Nagar. “They haven’t even closed the drain properly in some places, making it unsafe for residents.” Police cordoned off entry to Mudichur road from Tambaram flyover after vehicles were unable to navigate the flooded stretch. “It is a good thing we constructed a first floor. We may have to shift there tonight,” said S Narayanan, trudging through a flooded road carrying provisions.
S Kolathur flooded
Parts of S Kolathur such as TNPL colony, Engineers Avenue, Raja Nagar and Krishna Nagar were flooded after rainwater could not flow out through Keelkattalai canal which connects Keelkattalai lake and Narayanapuram lake. “The canal is heavily encroached upon and hasn’t been de-silted. We have approached the PWD for desilting and removing encroachments, but their assurances haven’t been implemented,” said Zaid Hussain, a resident.
A few earth movers were deployed to clear the water hyacinth obstructing flow of water after protesters demanded an immediate response. However, residents feel this water stagnation after just two days of rain would take more than a week to recede.
When Express contacted PWD, a senior official said a proposal for a `250-crore mass drain project in the suburbs under which the Keelkattalai canal falls is yet to be approved. “We are aware of the encroachments along the canal and hope to start work by early 2018 if the project is approved,” said the official.
Another suburb — Chitlapakkam, expected to benefit from the drainage project was also flooded by the runoff water from Selaiyur. Lack of a proper channel to drain water from Selaiyur to Sembakkam lake flooded Velachery Main Road and affected flow of traffic on the stretch. As in the past, Velachery and Pallikaranai were flooded on Tuesday. Chromepet and Pallavaram which were initially waterlogged, found some respite after workers pumped water out from some areas.
COP deploys special team
Chennai police commissioner AK Viswanathan formed a special task force to handle any disaster due to floods. According to sources, the team can respond to any situation and has been divided into 10 groups. They have been provided special kits too