Man's death triggers tension

LONG WAIT: Residents squat in front of a flood relief distribution centre in Tiruvanmiyur on Saturday. — Photo: N. Sridharan  

Staff reporter

Chennai: A 35-year-old man collapsed while standing in queue at a ration shop in Mylapore for receiving flood relief. He died later in hospital.The news of his death sparked tension in the city on Saturday.

Police and Revenue department officials, said that there was nothing unnatural about the death.

There was a rumour that he died in crowd jostling. Six women had died in a stampede at Vyasarpadi on November 6 in similar circumstances.

A release from S. Chandramohan, Chennai Collector, said Karunakaran of Rutherpuram, Mylapore, was standing in queue at the shop on Karaneeswarar Koil Street, Mylapore, to receive relief coupons. Around 9 a.m. he developed chest pain and went home. Official sources say that his wife Nageswarai took him to CSI Kalyani Hospital, where he was declared dead. The woman had told the doctors that he had earlier suffered chest pain. The cause of death was identified as cardio pulmonary attack.

There was no big crowd at the time when the incident occurred and there was no connection between his death and flood relief distribution, the release said.

Long queues

Most of the ration shops in South Chennai on Saturday had long queues of people, who gathered as early as 4 a.m. to obtain flood relief. The relief distribution, which began at 9 a.m., was fairly streamlined, as arrangements had been made to make the process systematic. However, there was clamour at some places. A road roko in the Ice House junction affected the traffic for over one hour. Agitations were held on Natesan Road and Besant Road.

Damage assessment was undertaken for the second day by a Central team, which visited Ambattur and Avadi. It visited Golden George Nagar, Annai Sathya Nagar and Ganapathy Nagar. The area around the Arapath lake, which breached during the rain, was inspected. Collector Pankaj Kumar Bansal accompanied the team.

Central relief team member S.S. Ganapathy told reporters that encroachments on lakes were one of the major issues to be tackled for flood control.

Ambattur councillors observed a fast near the Municipality office demanding fair distribution of flood relief.

S. Balakumaran, a DMK councillor, said several pockets of the Ambattur and entire Padi and Mogappair areas were not included in the distribution list. Padi residents joined the demonstration later.

The agitation was called off only after the District Revenue Officer and Ambattur Tahsildar assured the councillors that all affected areas would be covered.