Michaung-hit city limps back to normalcy

While most areas are inundation-free and power has been restored, availability of essential commodities remains a challenge.
A parked car lifted from its place by an uprooted tree at Ayapakkam in Chennai on Friday | D Sampathkumar
A parked car lifted from its place by an uprooted tree at Ayapakkam in Chennai on Friday | D Sampathkumar

CHENNAI: After continuous relief efforts for the past four days, most parts of Chennai returned to normalcy on Friday.

According to the Greater Chennai Corporation, around 119 streets are still inundated and most of these roads are in low-lying areas such as Pallikaranai, Perumbakkam, Manali, Kolapakkam, Manapakkam, Perambur, Thiru.Vi.Ka Nagar, Pattalam and Kodungaiyur. The civic body has deployed additional motors to drain out water from these areas. Water has been completely pumped out and all the 22 subways across Chennai were cleared for traffic on Friday. 

At least 23 people had died in rain-related incidents across the city over the last five days, according to various reports. But the state government has not given any official data on the number of deaths in the mayhem triggered by Cyclone Michaung. The victims include two workers trapped in a trench in Velachery, a police head constable, and an elderly person with epilepsy.  

While most areas are inundation-free and power has been restored, availability of essential commodities remains a challenge. Due to closure of shops for days, black-marketing of goods is rampant and prices of essentials have gone through the roof. Though the government has warned of strict action, essential commodities are still being sold at higher prices at several pockets in Chennai. Availability of milk is still a concern in areas like Semmenchery and Thiru Vi Ka Nagar. “We are still finding it difficult to get milk in our area,” said A Mercy, a resident of Semmenchery. 

After residents of ward 74 gheraoed Mayor R Priya’s residence on Friday over delay in getting relief materials and restoration of power, the mayor held talks with them and promised immediate action.  Protests were also held in Pulianthope when Egmore MLA I Paranthaman visited the place on Friday.

Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena in a letter to officers urged them to restore normalcy on a war footing. Following complaints of scarcity of essential commodities, horticulture and cooperative departments have launched 150 mobile vegetable shops. Government is also in talks with motor companies to facilitate quick service for repaired vehicles, Meena said. “Electricity has been restored in 99% areas barring a few places in Tondiarpet, Mylapore, Vyasarpadi and Ponneri. Schools are instructed to keep their campuses clean as classes will resume on Monday. People are advised to follow guidelines to claim insurance and government will offer free towing service for vehicles,” he said. 

Meanwhile, municipal administration minister KN Nehru inspected Perungudi, Alandur and Valasaravakkam zones in Chennai where relief work is still under way. A review meeting to assess the relief activities was also held at Ripon Building on Friday.

Act against firm: Kin of deceased

The site was located between a bus stop on Five Furlong Road and a gas station in Velachery. The rainwater which flooded the trench on Monday triggered soil erosion. A makeshift container installed by the company near the site in which Jayaseelan was stationed fell into the trench. A few minutes later, the bus stop and makeshift generator room too fell inside. The families of the victims staged protest seeking action against the company.

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