"The fear is still there. Yesterday, it rained for 40 minutes and everybody panicked.”

Greater Chennai unprepared for the monsoon worried residents stage hunger strike
news Civic Issues Sunday, September 11, 2016 - 20:00

More than a thousand residents of Mudichur panchayat in the outskirts of Chennai gathered at Old Perungalathur area for a hunger strike on Sunday, protesting over the ill-preparedness for the impending monsoon.

According to residents, the panchayat is home to many flood-prone areas like Vandalur, PTC quarters, Royappa Nagar and Bharti Nagar. These areas were submerged during last December’s floods with the water level rising up to 14 ft  in some places. Most houses in the area had the whole of the ground floor area inundated.

This demonstration comes after residents garnered 1500 signatures and went to the Kanchipuram collector demanding action. The collector reportedly told them that they were waiting for funds from World Bank in July.

30-year-old Yogesh Chellapa a resident of Mudichur, whose father was part of the protests said, “The fear is still there. Yesterday, it rained for 40 minutes and everybody panicked.”

Yogesh who used to live in the ground floor with his wife and 11-month-old daughter had to shift to the first floor during the floods with his parents. Their car and bikes were fully submerged in the water. Although, he could repair his bike, he had to sell his car for Rs 25, 000.

But Yogesh was not the most unfortunate, some of his neighbours in one-storey houses were stuck in the water and suffered the worst. Some like a tailor in his neighbourhood lost his livelihood, he said.   

Since, the floods in last December, all places available for rent in ground floor have remained unclaimed, Yogesh said.

“After flood it took more than a month to get back to normal life. It would cost Rs.1500 to Rs.4000 to just clean the houses and the government gave only Rs 5,000 as total compensation," he added.

"We want the government, civic bodies to take necessary steps to prevent a similar fate this year, well ahead of the monsoon."

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