Anger Against Government As Chennai Residents Battle Floods


New Delhi:

The massive waterlogging in Chennai after Cyclone Michaung has generated enormous anger among the residents, who say they got little warning or relief from the government. There was no one to say when power or water would be back, let alone provide emergency supplies. The helplines did not work and no government representative was in sight for at least two days.  

This, some of them said, was worse than the situation in 2015. Neither was the water chest deep in posh areas like Poes Garden, where the great and the famous live, nor where the people’s representatives absent for two days.  

The DMK government of MK Stalin has said they were prepared for rains but not of this magnitude. What contributed to the situation was the high tide, which made outflow of water from the city impossible.  

“The water was one feet in 2015. Now it is chest high. There has been property damage, cars were damaged. No one came to talk to us, even to say when the power will come back,” said Ajit George Abraham, who lives in Venus Colony, located behind Poes Garden.

Kasthuri Shankar, a resident of Poes Garden, said there was no cyclone warning from the government and they got to know about it only from social media, which is why they could reorganise the house in time.  

In 2015, essential supplies like milk and water were distributed from Day2, pointed out Mr Abraham. This time, no one has been around.  

What added to the tension was that his neighbourhood has a large number of elderly people, who might have an emergency at any time and need a hospital. But in the current situation, that is no longer possible. “The hospital 230 meters away, but no one can reach there,” he said.

Ramesh Sundar, who lives in south Chennai, however, said the outflow waterways have been blocked by the construction of bungalows of film stars, medical colleges and IT parks on the  

There has been heavy construction in the lake area. There are engineering colleges, IT parrks, bungalows of film stars on the coast lane. So where will the water go?

Pointing out that central Chennai better “because it was constructed by the British,” he said, “Someone told me Rs 15,000 crore has been spent in 15 years by various governments. Where has it gone?”

The authorities, he said, “have taken 2 lakh as development expenses from me when I constructed the house in 2015. Where has all this money gone?”

“Are the stars not answerable to the public? They have blocked the entire flow of water in Chennai,” he added.

Pointing out that new constructions in the city, including the metro tunnel, had no water, he questioned why the storm water drains could not be made effective. No PWD engineer, he said, was to be seen in these heavily waterlogged zone the last few days.  

DMK spokesman Sarvanan Annadurai said they were prepared for the rain, but not this gargantuan deluge which can only be termed a “natural disaster”.

“When the city was flooded the last time, there 24 cm rain. We were prepared for 30 cm, or even 32. What we got was 50 cm,” he said.  

Pointing out that there has been no complaint during the monsoon last year or this year, he said the government will do the needful and the city would get back to normalcy within a day or two. 

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