Thursday’s flooding in Chennai isn’t a systemic issue, only local: Corp Commissioner

Meanwhile, DMK president MK Stalin has alleged that Chennai is unable to bear even one day’s rain due to the failure of AIADMK government.
Chennai water logged road
Chennai water logged road
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The continuous rains across Chennai that lasted until late-morning on Thursday left the city reeling with inundated streets, water entering houses and flooded main roads. But as rains abated during the day the water levels began receding in most parts of the city.

Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash, in an interview with a television channel, attributed the flooding to a “minor” issue of incomplete stormwater drains in the city. “Stormwater drains are not stand-alone structures. In some places due to incomplete construction activities and small inter-departmental coordination issues, we have minor interruptions. It is natural to have such issues during natural calamities,” he reasoned.

“We have identified 50 areas where additional time will be taken for the water to drain out and deploy sufficient manpower. This is not a systemic issue but only local,” he said. The laying of an integrated stormwater drainage system began in full force in Chennai only around 2017.

“Prior to integrated stormwater drains, before 2014, we witnessed flooding even for normal rains. Since we began developing infrastructure, in 2017, only 300 flooding-prone areas were identified. This further reduced to just 19 locations in 2019. 85% of the interlinking of stormwater drains laid by the Highways Department and Chennai Corporation has been completed. Due to practical difficulties, only 15% of the work is pending,” Commissioner explained.

According to the Commissioner, in 2015, Rs 1400 crore World Bank Funds were used up in laying 406 kms of stormwater drains in the city. Later using State government funds of upto Rs 1000 crore, another 500 kms were covered. Prakash claimed that no flooding has been reported from this 1000 km stretch. Earlier this month, the Corporation began its annual desilting process over a stretch of 1200 kms of stormwater drains. 

“The network of stormwater drains much better than it was before. For the technical operation of the drains, we have manpower on the field. Nothing to worry about. This is a temporary issue. We are creating solutions. We can manage even if it continues to rain,” he stated.

On Thursday, Vyasarpadi, Egmore, Palavakkam, Parrys, Kilpauk, MMDA Colony, Thiruvanmiyur areas in the city were severely waterlogged.


Meanwhile, DMK president MK Stalin has alleged that Chennai is unable to bear even one day’s rain due to the failure of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Local Administration Minister SP Velumani. Alleging corruption in the funds allotted to prepare the city for monsoons, he recalled 2015 floods and urged the government to avoid its repeat.

Chennai in 2015 saw one of the worst floods in its history with several lives lost and property worth crores damaged. Many on social media expressed their worries over the repeat of 2015 when the city witnessed heavy rainfall over a very short span of time.

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