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Rain brings southern suburbs’ civic drawbacks to fore

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IMPACT: The Chromepet police station marooned by rainwater on Monday.
IMPACT: The Chromepet police station marooned by rainwater on Monday.

City Bureau

GST Road, Medavakkam Main Road and Velachery Main Road were worst affected

Chennai: The heavy downpour on Monday caused massive traffic snarls in the city’s southern suburbs. The worst affected traffic corridors were the Grand Southern Trunk Road at Chromepet and Kathipara, Medavakkam Main Road at Keelkattalai and Madipakkam and Velachery Main Road at Tambaram and Pallikaranai.

The Meenambakkam observatory of the Regional Meteorological Centre recorded 56.4 mm of rainfall in the 12 hours ending 8.30 p.m. on Monday. The Nungambakkam observatory received only 4.8 mm for the same period and city roads did not take as much a beating as those in the suburbs.

A Meteorological department official attributed the rainfall to a feeble trough formed over southwest Bay extending to the Gulf of Mannar on Monday. The well-marked low pressure over east Arabian Sea off Karnataka-Kerala coast also persists and showers have been forecast for Tuesday too.

Choked drains

Poor civic amenities in suburban residential areas such as Tambaram, Chromepet, Perungudi, Pallikaranai and Madipakkam led to water-logging. The heavy rains, accompanied by strong wind and thunder, forced motorists to take refuge for over one hour in the afternoon.

In Perungudi, residents complained of water-logging in Selva Vinayagar Avenue and Senthil Nagar. Officials in the town panchayat said they were waiting for a grant of Rs.14 lakh for constructing stormwater drains there. In Alandur Municipality, officials and elected representatives visited Hindu Colony and Kannan Nagar, where problems of stagnation were reported.

In most of the areas, stagnation was a result of stormwater drains choked with plastic waste or filled up with silt. An activist in Madipakkam said local bodies were interested in building the drains, but did not pay attention to maintenance.

Traffic snarls

Traffic jammed at the intersection of Velachery Main Road and Pallavaram – Thoraipakkam Radial Road in Pallikaranai, where a grade separator is under construction. A number of vehicles were trapped in rainwater on the western half of the carriageway in Chrompet on GST Road and vehicles towards Chennai were diverted through the other side. It took more than one hour to restore the normal flow of traffic.

The limited-use subway for two–wheelers and cars in Tambaram was rendered unusable owing to an inundation. The pedestrian subway at Tambaram Sanatorium Railway Station was no better. Built at the cost of about Rs.75 lakh, the subway was completed more than two years ago.

It has been so badly maintained that pedestrians cannot use it.

In the northern suburbs, several arterial roads, including Tiruvottriyur High Road, turned unmotorable. Water remained stagnant on most interior roads of western suburbs, including Tirumullaivoyal and Avadi.

Fruit and vegetable wastes have been dumped just outside the wholesale market at Koyambedu and not cleared after the rain. Mounds of soggy, rotting garbage can be seen on the link road that connects Kaliamman Koil Street in Chinmaya Nagar with the Poonamallee High Road. P. Ponnudurai, a retail vendor from Valasarawakkam, said, “some traders throw the vegetable wastes on the road instead of disposing of them in the bins set up by the traders’ associations.”

Good inflows

From March 1 to 23, Nungambakkam received rainfall of 133 mm as against its normal rainfall of 5 mm and Meenambakkam 119 mm as against its normal rainfall of 13 mm. An official of Meteorological department said ‘normal’ rainfall referred to the average rainfall recorded in a place over three decades.

The department arrives at the average, based on the rainfall between 1950 and 1980.

The four city reservoirs received a considerable inflow over the past five days. The additional storage since March 20 was about 170 mcft, which is equal to about a week’s city water supply.

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