No escape for residents if Adyar swells again


Residents fear that not enough has been done by the government to protect the city from another flood.

Among all places that were affected by the flood of 2015, few places were hit as hard and with the intensity that was reserved for Saidapet. Located on the banks of the swollen Adyar, people were stranded in their homes on the upper floors and on terraces for a few days until water receded. Garbage that was floating atop the surface washed into homes located close to the river. The Saidapet bridge was overflowing and there were real fears that it might collapse.

“We tied wooden planks together and helped people crawl out of their terraces to nearby buildings,” said Abdul Qadir, recalling those tense moments on December 1 and also the days that followed. Mr. Qadir, a bubble-top water can salesman in Sarathy Nagar, West Saidapet, said that if the city witnessed similar rain again and if the Adyar were to swell, residents would have to suffer this year too, as not enough improvement measures were undertaken.

Like Qadir, other residents of Sarathy Nagar like Senji Rajendran, too complained of the enormous damage the flood caused last year and that they had expected the government to execute damage control measures on a war footing. “I have not seen any improvement. Even the damaged compound wall has not been restored,” said Mr. Rajendran, pointing to a gaping hole on the massive wall built along the river’s banks.

Residents here said the bureaucracy and the elected councils lacked the courage to put in place permanent measures — be it widening of canals or evicting encroachers from river beds and channels. Hutments that were removed soon after the floods were back in their place in West Saidapet, near the Metropolitan Transport Corporation terminus. Similarly, residents of Todhunter Nagar, also raised concerns about the meagre preventions measures taken. “I have been living here for 23 years and not once were we confined to our homes like we had last year. There has been no improvement in the ‘ kaavaankarai’ (water channel running parallel to Adyar),” said Subhadra Devi, a resident.

However, residents at the Slum Board tenements in Kotturpuram said the government was continuing with its improvement works. “We hope families here do not suffer this year as they did last year,” said R.Gavaskar of Thandu Thulukanathamman Koil Street.

Mr. Gavaskar said the onus of keeping the drains clear was on residents, but they continued to litter in the open and also in the drains. Corporation sources said that Tangedco was increasing the height of transformers in the locality and Metrowater had deployed vehicles to remove obstructions on the underground drainage network.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 1:39:20 PM |

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