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Some didn’t have supplies, some were talking about an impending flood, while some had just lost all that they had.

Is Chennai really limping back to normalcy A trek through city tells me otherwise
Blog Cleaning Chennai Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 18:40

By Anirudh Deepak

Headlines say that Chennai is coming back to normalcy. So my friend Sudha Ramamoorthy and I headed out on Wednesday to see what was the condition in a few of the places, which were worst affected zones in the city.

Our first stop was at Jafferkhanpet. On reaching the Chennai Middle School, we were greeted by a huge heap of garbage, which we later found out was the things that had been cleaned from inside the school. Surely, there isn’t any system followed for proper disposal of garbage both inside and outside the school, which was home to over 200 people during the floods. The Corporation seemingly didn’t bother to send anyone to take the garbage, which was lying on the road, in spite of residents complaining to them.

Garbage outside school

One of the houses we went to still had sewage water inside and even after removing it, the dirty water kept coming back somehow. Though the sewage from the Cooum was creeping into their homes, many had not cleaned their houses as they are under the impression that there is going to be flooding again, along with a tsunami alert. 

I know it may sound strange, but they believed that the city was going to go under again by the end of the month.

So much for rumours being spread!

We next headed to Ekkatuthangal (Burma Colony). This place was better compared to Jafferkhanpet, but it wasn’t anywhere near normalcy. The residents said they needed two more days to clean their houses and hadn’t started to go for work. The only source of water was a tanker, which didn’t seem adequate. All the pumps and water taps on the street were broken because of trees falling down, among other things. The people didn’t have water to take a bath and claimed to bathe in the nearby “Eri”.

Then, we headed to Nesapakkam and what we saw on the way was just terrible. Lorries were dumping garbage on the main road (Anna Main Road MGR Nagar). Yes, on the main road!

At Nessapakkam, in Kanu Nagar, the residents claimed that no boat service came to rescue them. We saw indications that water had risen onto the buildings about 12-15 feet. They were without food for three full days. Even after the water had receded, they had not been given any mats, blankets and other relief material. The local mosque provided the residents with food and supplies as much as they could. There were no medical camps nearby. Only on Tuesday, at the initiative of the Lions club and Leo club, a small camp was set up. People said they had to travel all the way up to Ashok Nagar to buy basic provisions like rice and dal.

A few people, who lived in the nearby school, had now started to move to their houses. They said that the water from the bore well had a bad smell and was mixed with sewage. The water that came in tanks seemed to cause various diseases like diarrhoea. They only depended on the water, which was given at the school.

There was another strange thing that we saw. There were a group of people from the Revenue Department, who had come to verify the Ration cards and note down the bank account numbers of those who had been affected. When we asked them, “What if they had lost everything in the floods?”, the gentleman replied that this was the reason they were going door to door to verify the address. This was in total contradiction to what one of the residents said. She had been told that they couldn’t help her because she had lost her ration card and pass book.

Many people weren’t even aware that they had to wash their houses with bleaching powder. Yes, it surprised me too.

In all the three areas, only a few people had started cooking in their homes. Some didn’t have supplies, some were talking about an impending flood, while some had just lost all that they had.

Unless you see what was happening out there for real, one cannot understand the magnitude of the loss that this city and its people have had to bear. Even I had not realized this initially, and was living in oblivion, believing that the city was back to normal.

The city is far from coming back to normalcy. There is a huge gap between where we are and where we have to go. Hope this message reaches the people concerned and something is done about it. I’m not against anyone, neither am I criticising anybody. I’m just one among the many anxious “Chennaiites” who want our ‘makkal’ to lead a normal life once again.

Anirudh Deepak, is a pre final year student of Saveetha Medical College and wants to find a cure for Diabetes since his childhood days. Lives life to the fullest; loves music and photography. A follower of the quote " When words fail, music speaks ".

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