Corporation awaiting for funds from the government for a decade for the stormwater drain project

Normal life was hit as heavy rain lashed Tiruchi district on Saturday as the depression in the southwest Bay of Bengal crossed the Nagapattinam coast during the day.

The rainfall is considered timely and beneficial for farmers, especially in the non-delta areas, where farmers were worried over the poor rainfall during the northeast monsoon so far this year.

Incessant rains lashed the city right through the day, inundating several low-lying areas. The rain which started as moderate showers in the early hours of the day grew heavier by noon as the depression crossed the coast by afternoon. Squally and chilly weather prevailed due to the sustained rain. Visibility was poor and vehicles moved with their headlights on.

Several arterial roads in the city were left inundated as the ill maintained and inadequate network of storm water drains in the city were flooded. Road traffic moved at snail’s pace due to water logging on the Madurai Road, Thillai Nagar, Woraiyur, Pattabiraman Pillai Road, Lawsons Road and around the Central and Chathram bus stands in the city. Two-wheeler riders were left stranded as their vehicles broke down on the flooded roads in some places. The Melapudur underpass was flooded by evening and closed for traffic. Vehicles were diverted via Marsinghpet.

In recent years, the city has been witnessing similar scenes during monsoon as the Corporation has been awaiting funds from the government for over a decade now for executing an ambitious storm water drainage project for the city. Although the civic body has cleared the silt in some of the major drains in the past two months, the works were carried out in bits and pieces and has proven to be ineffective.

“Most of the city roads turn water ways whenever there is heavy rainfall. This has become a tiresome experience every year as we struggle to negotiate the roads flooded with rain water and sewage. Nobody seems to bother about the plight of common man,” said an irate city resident, Ramesh.

Farmers of the district though had reason to cheer . The much needed rain raised the hopes of farmers in the non-delta areas to take up samba paddy transplantation.

“The rain is welcome sign, but it needs to continue for the next few days to be of real help to farmers in the non-delta areas who depend on irrigation tanks. The rain will be beneficial for maize and cotton crops. But whether it will help farmers take up paddy cultivation in the non-delta areas will depend on how good the rain is over the next 10 days,” said Ayilai Sivasuriyan, district secretary of the CPI-affiliated Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam.

Agriculture Department officials say that the rain will definitely prove beneficial for farmers in the district, which has recorded deficient rainfall during the Northeast monsoon.

According to figures available at the website of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, the district had recorded just 115.06 mm of rainfall between October 1 and November 13 against the normal of 251 mm for the period, making for deficit of 54 per cent.

While samba paddy has been raised in 35,500 hectares in the canal irrigated delta areas of the district, transplantation has been completed only in about 8,000 hectares of the targeted 31,000 hectares in the non-delta areas so far.

Officials were hopeful that the targeted area in the non-delta region would be covered if the rain continued for next few days.