Citing rainy season, autorickshaw drivers demand that commuters pay exorbitant fares

Motorists had to tackle the twin challenges of traffic pile-up and inundation on many arterial roads across the city owing to the heavy showers on Tuesday.

The rain, as a result of a well-marked low pressure area, threw life out of gear in many areas. Officials of the Meteorological department said the rain would continue on Wednesday too, but with less intensity.

Since October 1, Chennai received 319 mm of rainfall, which is 184 mm less than the average for this period. However, this is not a cause of concern as the city had registered 118 cm since January. The average annual rainfall is 122 cm, they added.

The showers since Monday also contributed significantly to the storage at four reservoirs in Poondi, Cholavaram, Red Hills and Chembarambakkam.

Their storage was stepped up by 132 million cubic feet, which is sufficient to supply the city for one week.

Roads battered

Tuesday's rain slowed down vehicular movement along many arterial roads. Traffic jams were reported on Anna Salai, around Nandanam, parts of Vadapalani, Inner Ring Road near Koyambedu, Medavakkam Main Road, Mylapore, Mint and Anna Nagar.

Motorists had a tough task negotiating many water-logged and potholed stretches such as Ormes Road in Kilpauk, Dr.Alagappa Road in Purasawalkam, Velachery Main Road and Taramani Link Road.

Many areas, including Aminjikarai, Kolathur, Vyasarpadi, Jamalia and Tondiarpet were under sheets of water. Residents of Perambur said Stephenson Road and Ganesapuram were water logged and sewage overflowed in residential colonies in Perambur and Vyasarpadi.

V.Janaki, a resident of Villivakkam said as the work on the vehicular subway is still on progress, people have to take a detour to reach the main road.

Another issue that surfaces with the rains is autorickshaw drivers fleecing customers. “I had to pay Rs.50 more than the usual fare to reach Mount Road from Anna Nagar. They say it's raining and demand extra money,” said R.Rekha, a commuter.

With water-logging and traffic bottlenecks, call taxis also had a roaring business with the number of calls going up significantly.

“Today, we got at least 1,000 calls more than our average number of calls. It happens every time it rains,” said operator of a private call taxi service.

Train services hit

Nine suburban train services were affected for nearly two hours on the Chennai Beach-Arakkonam route as a result of the showers. T. Ravikumar, a resident of Avadi, said that hundreds of commuters were stranded at the railway stations as there was no train service for more than an hour on the route.

A railway official said as water had stagnated on the tracks between Annanur and Avadi, train services were affected from 11.45 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(With inputs from K.Lakshmi, Meera Srinivasan and R.Srikanth)