Cyclone Michaung | Caught in a flood of rage: Greater Chennai Corporation Mayor, Egmore MLA face backlash over cyclone response

A video clip that was circulated on social media showed people demanding electricity, stating that “Perambur is her area” and she was “elected Mayor by the people here”.

December 08, 2023 09:21 pm | Updated 09:55 pm IST - Chennai

Chennai Mayor Priya is confronted by irate residents at Perambur in Chennai on December 8, 2023. Photo: Special Arrangement

Chennai Mayor Priya is confronted by irate residents at Perambur in Chennai on December 8, 2023. Photo: Special Arrangement

Demanding basic amenities, restoration of services and timely transportation of the deceased amid flooding, angry residents of Perambur surrounded Mayor R. Priya when she was inspecting the locality.

A video clip that was circulated on social media showed people demanding electricity, stating that “Perambur is her area” and she was “elected Mayor by the people here”. The Mayor, attempting to pacify the people, said electricity would be restored and regular supply of milk would be resumed soon.

Editorial | Shared blame: On Chennai and Cyclone Michaung

She was later unavailable for comment.

It may be noted that the Mayor is the daughter of R. Rajan, a.k.a. ‘Perambur’ R. Rajan, who was a DMK functionary for 30 years at the ward level in Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, and the niece of three-time party MLA from the Perambur constituency, Chengai Sivam.

MLA faces heat

In the central region, residents confronted Egmore MLA I. Paranthamen of the DMK at Pattalam and Pulianthope of Zone 6. In a video posted on social media, the residents were seen asking him why he had not visited their localities during the flooding, and demanded that he not visit them in future.

A daily-wage worker at Sadayankuppam in Tiruvottiyur said the locals confronted the councillor during a visit to Manali and Tiruvottiyur, as the visit came over five days after severe rains pounded the area and caused huge losses.

N. Lakshmipathy, 54, who runs a tailor shop at Chinnaiah New Colony in Perambur under Zone 4, claimed that the Mayor was surrounded by irate residents at Muthamil Nagar in Kodungaiyur. “There were issues in the slum area in Kodungaiyur and Vyasarpadi. Electricity was restored today [December 8] and milk supply is expected to resume soon. In contrast, people in Perambur faced power cuts only on December 4 and 5. Milk is being sold at ₹30 in Aavin parlours and ₹32 in retail shops. Some are selling it at exorbitant rates,” he said.

Watch | Why was Chennai so badly flooded? | Cyclone Michaung

He added that there was one-foot level inundation in the Perambur subway and nearly two feet of inundation at the Vyasarpadi Jeeva Railway Station, but water was being pumped out by civic workers from time to time. The Zonal Officer said electricity was restored in over 95% of the areas falling under Zone 4, including Muthamil Nagar.

According to the Zone 4 Executive Engineer, storm-water drains have to be installed at Ilaya Nagar in Tondiarpet for 500 m. All other areas have it. Water in many areas, including Muthamil Nagar, has been receding since December 8, and efforts to restore normalcy are on.

“The zone is in the vicinity of three canals: Captain Cotton canal, Buckingham canal and Kodungaiyur canal. The overflow from Kodungaiyur canal caused flooding in some areas,” the engineer said.

Official sources said two pumps, apart from the four already deployed in Mullai Nagar, had been sent to pump out stagnant water from roads and the bridge in Ward 34.

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