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Heavy rain muddles up civic scenario

Kavita Kishore
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Puducherry has received 160 mm since Thursday morning

In the grip of water: One of the low-lying areas inundated in Puducherry on Friday. — Photo : T. Singaravelou
In the grip of water: One of the low-lying areas inundated in Puducherry on Friday. — Photo : T. Singaravelou

Several areas in Puducherry were inundated as the town received 160 mm rain since Thursday morning, with 55 mm in just one hour in the morning, according to data available with the Public Works Department.

Heavy rain is expected to continue along the coast on Saturday.

Although there has been no serious damage due to the rain, low-lying areas of Krishna Nagar, Venkata Nagar, Boomianpet, Rainbow Nagar, Chella Nagar, Ezhil Nagar, Pavanan Nagar, Sudandira Ponvizha Nagar, Nesathoppu, Velmurugan Nagar and other low-lying areas reported flooding following the morning rain. Although water had drained out in most areas, Boomianpet is still water-logged, according to Revenue officials.

Water from the overflowing Ousteri Lake had to be diverted to the Sankarabharani river. If the heavy rain continued, the Veedur dam would have to be opened to cope with the inundation, the Revenue official said.

According to Public Works Department officials, the flooding is mainly due to high tide in the sea, which makes it more difficult for the water to drain out quickly. The department was making all attempts to clean the drains, but the rain was hindering the operations, the official said.

Also, the drains in many areas in Puducherry are capable of coping with only 40 mm rain.

The unprecedented amount of rain on Friday morning caused further flooding, the official said.

The Public Works Department has also submitted a proposal for funding to enlarge the canal and improve drainage facilities in low-lying areas. Unfortunately, there were many illegal constructions in the area, which were hindering the project, the official said.

Until the project was implemented, a 32HB motor with an eight-inch pipe on S.V. Patel Salai that would be operated, which would divert water into the Karuvadikuppam canal, reducing the flooding in Venkata Nagar, Rainbow Nagar and Krishna Nagar. The motor would be installed and become fully functional by Monday, an official from the PWD said.

According to an engineer from the PWD, individual houses, especially in low-lying areas, must ensure that their stormwater or rainwater drains do not join sewage. This could cause sewage entering houses through toilets and other drains. If all residents of low-lying areas exercise this caution, the overload on sewage drains would be reduced significantly.

The main cause for inundation in many low-lying areas, which used to be agricultural lands, is encroachments. As many of the plots in the area were sold without approval and narrow roads, they blocked the irrigation canals in the fields. Water-logging has been a common feature in areas such as Venkata Nagar and the surrounding areas since 1975. With more houses being built in the area, the situation worsened in the recent past, according to former secretary to the government of Puducherry S. Hemachandran.

According to Head of the Civil Engineering Department S. Kothandaraman, it is vital to ensure that the drains are not clogged with plastic cups and bags. Plastic is one of the main causes of clogging, so drains have to be cleaned at least once a week. Even canals need to be de-silted on a regular basis.

The cross-section of drains in many of the areas have to be enlarged to suit the requirements of the area, especially with the increasing population in several layouts. Encroachments block flow into the canal, causing flooding.

According to Revenue officials, the situation so far has not called for any evacuation, but schools and community halls in low-lying areas have been alerted in case people need to be evacuated. To report any emergencies or receive information, residents can call 1077.

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