Heavy rainfall continues in Chennai, over 20k in relief camps

Thoothukudi district administration issued a flood warning on Tuesday to people living along the banks of the Thamirabarani river due to sudden inflow of water from other dams of nearly 40,000-50,000 cusecs
Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) team evacuates a family from a flood-affected area following heavy rains at Periyar Nagar near Chennai, Monday. (PTI)
Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) team evacuates a family from a flood-affected area following heavy rains at Periyar Nagar near Chennai, Monday. (PTI)
Published on Dec 01, 2021 01:05 AM IST
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By, Chennai

The number of people staying in relief camps increased to 20,836 people on Tuesday as several regions including Chennai continued to be inundated across the state even though heavy rains continued in several parts of the state.

In Chennai, the Cooum River embankment was strengthened by placing about 500 sand bags in view of increase in outflow. Surplus water was being let out from reservoirs and similarly, other districts like Cuddalore too released excess from waterbodies like the Veernam lake. The five key dams that cater to the drinking water needs of Chennai have either touched 100 per cent storage like Kannankottai Thervoy Kandigai or close to full level, such as the Poondi.

Thoothukudi district administration issued a flood warning on Tuesday to people living along the banks of the Thamirabarani river due to sudden inflow of water from other dams of nearly 40,000-50,000 cusecs. The Mordhana and Rajathoppu reservoirs in Vellore district too have touched full levels and surplus water is being discharged.

Shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam, located in Kerala but under the control of the Tamil Nadu government, were also opened as the water level reached the limit of 142 feet. The Kerala government, however, asked the Tamil Nadu government not to open the gates during early morning hours as it could cause flooding in the low lying areas of the state.

In the past 24 hours, 15 districts such as Theni received heavy rainfall, said deputy director of the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in Chennai, V Puviarasan.

“In the next 48-hours in Chennai may see isolated moderate rainfall,” he said. The hardship continued for residents in the city as localities such as Ashok Nagar, Kodambakkam, Pattalam, Perumbakkam, Semmechery continued to be flooded. Of the 561 water-logged locations here, water has been drained in 227 and work is on to bail out water from the remaining areas using high-powered motor pumps, according to the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) statement, which is using more than 750 heavy duty pumps to remove water.

Traffic was diverted on at least six arterial roads where draining of water was on-going and motorists continued to face choc-o-bloks. The rains have led to damage to many roads and craters covered under water often caught motorists off guard. Authorities said repair work to damaged portions of the road is going on.

However, the rains have gradually reduced from Tuesday onwards after seeing excessive rainfall throughout this November which is the second highest since 2015 for a single month.

According to the RMC, from October 1 up to November 30, the north east monsoon has brought 65 cm rains for Tamil Nadu and neighbouring union territory of Puducherry which is 82% above the average rainfall and Chennai received 115 cm which is 83% in excess. Although no loss of life was reported over the past days, more than 500 cattle were killed and more than 2000 huts were damaged in the rains, said a statement from the department of revenue and disaster management on Tuesday.

Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin on Tuesday inspected rain battered areas and distributed assistance to the affected people. The CM inspected the nearby Karappakkam lake that brimmed with flood water and discussed with officials on steps being taken to prevent flooding. Public Works Minister E V Velu inspected the collapsed portion of Palar River bridge (linking Virinjipuram and Kothamangalam regions in Vellore District) in view of heavy inflows in the river.

Chennai apartment seeks 11.5 lakh compensation from GCC

One of the worst affected areas due the excessive rainfall this November in Chennai has been T Nagar and one of its residential complexes have written to the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) seeking a relief of 11.5 lakh--the amount of expenditure they are incurring to repair their flat and possessions--which they say is “due to the gross negligence of the civic agencies.”

The residential complex comprises 28 flats which were constructed 25 years ago. “Every monsoon, we face flooding in our premises, forcing the residents of ground floor flats to seek shelter elsewhere and the others to endure after-effects,” said the letter written by V S Jayaraman of the Shreebagh Flat Owners’ Association on November 27.

The residents argue that to make their apartment habitable again they had to pump out flood water and water from wells and sumps which cost 1 lakh. Since the rain had not subsided until November 27, they still had to continue pumping out water and the expenditure had risen to 75,000. “Since the well water and the water in the Metrowater sumps get polluted due to flooding, we have to necessarily pump out the entire water incurring heavy expenditure,” they said. So for common purposes the flat had spent 1.75 lakh. Due to the flooding, families in the seven apartments on the ground floor had incurred an expenditure of 50,000 each totalling 3,50,000 while for those on first floor and above it was 30,000 each, totalling 6,30,000. “We therefore seek a total relief of .11,55,000/- from the government/GCC. In view of the fact that we face the situation as above due to the gross negligence of the civic agencies, we seek the above relief immediately,” their letter noted.

They also said that at a time when they purchased these apartments and moved in the road level was four feet below the floor level of the building. The relaying of the roads by the GCC without milling, over the years has led to the road level going up causing more flooding. “The dysfunctional storm water drains also add to the flooding,” they said. Since the main electricity switches and meters of the flats are installed at the ground floor, these too get submerged in the water, forcing them to turn off power to the premises to avoid electrocution. The power gets restored only when the water is fully receded.

(With PTI INPUTS)

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