North Chennai facing flood threat

Monsoon woes: Floodwater entered houses in north Chennai after light showers last week .  

An estimated one million residents in north Chennai are threatened by flooding due to encroachments on the Ennore creek and the Kosasthalaiyar, according to coastal zone management plans analysed by the Coastal Resource Centre, set up under the Community Environmental Monitoring project in Chennai.

“About 35 canals which criss-cross the inter-tidal zone of the Kosasthalaiyar are currently clogged due to various encroachments,” said Pooja Kumar, coordinator of the centre.

The centre organised a media visit to Atthipattu Pudunagar in Ennore, a low lying area, on Tuesday to demonstrate how floodwater had entered around 50 houses her following light showers in the city last week. When a railway line was built over a century ago, canals were built here to allow floodwater to naturally drain into the sea. However, after the North Chennai Thermal Power Station constructed a road along the railway line, the flow of water has been blocked completely, residents said.

There are about 2,000 houses in this residential colony and most of the constructions are unauthorised. However, residents assert that they are paying property, water and electricity taxes to the government. Many houses were completely inundated in this colony during the 2015 Chennai floods. Recalling the nightmarish experience, Chandi M., a shopkeeper, said, “We had waist-deep water on the streets. Around 4 a.m., ward members came and told us that a nearby lake had breached and asked us to evacuate immediately. We feared for our lives.” Pointing at a huge slushy puddle that had formed in the middle of the road following last week’s showers, she said, “If light showers could cause this, what will happen if heavy rain occurs again?”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) organised a hunger strike in front of the Kathivakkam municipality office here to demand that encroachments on the waterbodies be removed so that floodwater could drain into the sea.

G. Ramakrishnan, CPI (M) State Secretary, said, “We are against the State government allowing the Kamarajar Port Ltd. to raise additional structures on the waterbodies here to expand their operations, and the dumping of fly ash from thermal power plants on the 850 acre-ash pond here.”

With the onset of the northeast monsoon expected by the end of the month, he said that areas such as Athipattu Pudunagar, Nandiambakkam, Vallur, Napalayam, Minjur, Manali Pudunagar, Edayanchavadi, Burma Nagar, Sadayankuppam, Saathangadu, Vyasarpadi, Kodungaiyur, MKB Nagar, Ezhil Nagar, KKD Nagar, Washermanpet, Korrukkupet, R.K. Nagar, Ernavoor and Ennore could be flooded yet again if not action was taken.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 9:26:32 PM |

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