Several districts bore the brunt after incessant rains continued to lash the State. Two persons, including a four-year-old, died in wall collapse in the delta districts. While Saraswathi (97) from Mannargudi died on Tuesday night, Ananya (4) of Thenampadugai succumbed on Wednesday.
In another wall collapse, a couple, R Kanagaraj (37) and his wife Sundari (32), from Thepperumanallur was injured. Two people were injured and 25 houses damaged in Puducherry. In Kanniyakumari, 35 houses were either fully or partially damaged in the rains, as per a damage report.
Large swathes of paddy fields submerged in many parts of Thanjavur. Sources said paddy on 7,000 hectares in Thanjavur are under water. “The damage can be assessed only after the water is drained,” an agriculture department official said. In Nagapattinam, around 5,000 hectares of cultivation went under water. The inundation in Mayiladuthurai affected about 6,100 hectares.
In Madurai, the Vaigai river has attained 5,000 cusecs of flow from Wednesday morning and people in low-lying areas were urged to move to safer places. The water level in Vaigai dam had reached 69 feet against its total capacity of 71 feet on Tuesday night. In Salem, the water level at Mettur dam was maintained at 119 feet for the second day, against its capacity of 120 feet. Shutters of the Poigai dam in Kanniyakumari was opened as well.
In Pudukkottai, 458 of the total 1,131 tanks under the PWD’s control reached their full capacity. Officials said no breaches have been reported so far. “We are watching all the tanks, and have set up a 24x7 divisional office control room,” said an official. Around 142 waterbodies in Sivaganga, too, reached their capacity.
Villagers near Virudhachalam had to risk lives by swimming across an already inundated canal to reach farmlands. The rains pushed up the water level in the canal, cutting them off their fields. In Villupuram, gates of the Saathanur dam on Thenpennai river were opened. With Pambai river running in spate, a check dam in V. Mathur was breached and water infiltrated 500 acres of fields.
Heavy rainfall combined with a disruption in supply chain skyrocketed vegetable prices in Tiruchy. Ever since Deepavali, the prices have been fluctuating in the district. In this scenario, tomatoes are now selling at Rs 110-120 a kg against Rs 60 last week. Potatoes cost Rs 50 a kg, as against Rs 30 last week. Carrots, beans, onions, and brinjals also recorded a Rs 15-30 price rise.
Meanwhile, tea planters in Nilgiris have informed the Tea Board that their production (Jan-Oct 2021) had risen to 13.20 million kg (mkg) as against 10.83 mkg in Jan-Oct 2020 due to heavy rains. Monitoring Officer for Nilgiris district, Supriya Sahu, said, 33 houses were damaged so far and Rs 1.36 lakh compensation was already paid.
(Inputs from Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Tiruchy, Pudukkottai, Madurai, Salem, Coonoor, Villupuram, Cuddalore, and Puducherry)