Chennai rains Chennai

A situation that called for extraordinary steps

A scramble for clothes during a flood relief effort on Old Mahabalipuram Roadin Chennai on Sunday. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh  

As rains lashed many parts of Tamil Nadu, huge tracts of densely populated areas became completely inaccessible floating islands. As power was switched off to avoid large-scale electrocution, mobile towers, basic telephony networks and internet cables too went kaput, making all forms of communication impossible.

So, inaccessible and incommunicado are two words that best described the plight of most people in the State over those scary three to four days. If we add a couple of more words such as apathy, ineptitude and political complicity to the list, we would have well summed up the conduct of the State administration, both pre- and post The Great Tamil Nadu Floods. Yet, while the floods of November/December 2015 is a natural calamity of gargantuan proportions, it has also been an extraordinary situation which called for extraordinary measures.

The chief causes for the extent of the damage — encroachments along waterways, illegal constructions on lakes and riverbeds and water bodies that are in constant state of disrepair required attention from the government much before the floods occurred.

The government and the civic administration have been found to be severely wanting, if public reactions are to go by. The civic administration headed by the Mayor literally pleaded to be left alone, a group of the State government's ministers had to face flak from protesters when they visited flood-affected areas in Chennai. The Chief Minister continued to avoid directly interacting with the Press and relied only on ‘press releases’.

Silver lining

The saving grace has been the reaction from civil society which has shown extraordinary generosity, ingenuity and fortitude in reaching out to the flood victims. It is the collective wisdom of the masses that has given the hope that this too shall pass and Tamil Nadu, particularly Chennai, will emerge only stronger from the catastrophe.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 4:25:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennai-rains-a-situation-that-called-for-extraordinary-steps/article7955815.ece

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