On November 7, Pondy Bazaar in T Nagar and its Rs 39 crore pedestrian plaza developed under the Smart City Mission was submerged under water. Chennai had received 200 mm of rainfall within 24 hours while several parts of the city continue to remain waterlogged. However, several people have pointed out that there is no excuse for T Nagar to flood as the corporation has pumped in several crores for area based development of T Nagar under the Smart City Mission.
It was in November 2019, that the grand pedestrian plaza was inaugurated between Pondy Bazaar and Bashyam Road in T Nagar – the first pedestrian plaza project to be completed in Chennai. Construction of the pedestrian plaza began in 2018 at a cost of Rs 39.86 crore and the 'smart' pavement was built for Rs 19.11 crore. This included area-based development solutions including flood proofing T Nagar following the 2015 floods in Chennai. For this, the Greater Chennai Corporation had invested Rs 110 crore to construct storm water drains and Rs 80 crore to restore the Mambalam canal to divert the run off post rains. However, with the November 7 showers, not only was the smart city area inundated, other parts of T Nagar, including a portion of the GN Road, were waterlogged.
Doing a Maldives in Madras. This is at Giri road, T Nagar one of the expensive areas to live in Chennai. Cars floating. Streets flooded. Power cut. Pathetic state of affairs. High time @arivalayam starts “acting” rather than “acting”. #ChennaiRain pic.twitter.com/6kx43qMteM— Vinoj P Selvam (@VinojBJP) November 8, 2021
On November 9, Tuesday, many pocket roads and streets off GN Chetty road continued to remain flooded. TNM visited several interior roads including Valmiki street, Chinnayya street, Bazullah road, Habibullah road and Thirumalai Pillai road which were filled with water.
“I have just stepped out to buy groceries and essentials for my family, as per the instructions of the Greater Chennai Corporation which asked us to stock up and stay home. They say T Nagar comes under the Smart City Mission. But there was water until my knees yesterday (November 8) and today it has receded a bit. How is this Smart City?” asks Arun, a resident of Giri Road in T Nagar. With rainfall upto the intensity of 200 mm predicated on November 10 and 11 in Chennai, Arun expects more flooding, waterlogging and power cuts in his neighbourhood.
Kumaravel, a courier delivery agent, says that he has been walking to different houses and delivering couriers to their doorsteps, despite the level of flooding. “My job cannot be stopped. I have to deliver the couriers and maximum I can delay it a bit if it rains. So I have been walking to different houses. I cannot take my vehicle as I will not get any insurance if it breaks down in the water,” Kumaravel tells TNM.
Chief Minister MK Stalin has now called out the previous AIADMK government and the Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani for the shoddy work and lack of flood proofing in the Smart City area in T Nagar. He also alleged large scale corruption in the Smart Cities Project and asked for a detailed probe to unearth the irregularities in the way the previous AIADMK government has spent the funds allotted under the Smart Cities Project.
(With inputs from Anna Isaac)