'What were you doing since 2015?' Madras HC pulls up Chennai Corporation over floods

The High Court also warned that if the waterlogging situation was not brought under control, it would take up suo motu proceedings.
A file photo of the Madras High Court shows the red building surrounded by trees
A file photo of the Madras High Court shows the red building surrounded by trees
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The Madras High Court on Tuesday, November 9, pulled up the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) over the recent flooding in the city due to heavy rains. Stating that the civic body "failed to take adequate measures to prevent inundation of the city," the court questioned GCC as to what it had done since the floods in 2015. The High Court also warned that if the waterlogging situation was not brought under control, and the troubles faced by residents due to it doesn't improve by the weekend, it would take up suo motu proceedings. The court was also quoted as saying, “For half of the year, we are made to cry for water and for another half, we are made to die in water."

Surplus rain water gushed out of reservoirs while several roads and low-lying areas remained inundated in Chennai, after heavy rains lashed the city and parts of Tamil Nadu earlier this week. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Revenue and Disaster Management Minister KKSSR Ramachandran said that five people have lost their lives in the state due to the rain. He added that more damage was expected if the rain intensified.

Since the start of the northeast monsoon last month and as on Monday, Tamil Nadu has recorded about 43% rainfall above normal. While the normal is 241.2 mm (24.12 cm), the state recorded 346.1 mm (34.61 cm). As of Monday, authorities said that 1,107 people have been sheltered in 48 relief camps in Chennai. Similarly, in northern districts of Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Chengalpet and Tiruvallur, 314 people are housed in 10 shelters and are being provided food and all other basic amenities.

The Meteorological department advised 'alert' and preparedness on Tuesday for Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Dindigul, Theni, Tenkasi and Tirunelveli districts. In a bulletin, the department said the cyclonic circulation over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining South Andaman sea, extending up to 5.8 km above the mean sea level, persists. Under its influence, a low pressure area is very likely to form over southeast Bay of Bengal and the neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.

It is likely to move northwestwards, concentrate into a depression and reach near north Tamil Nadu coast by November 11 early morning and bring widespread rainfall in several regions of the state, the bulletin said. Fishermen were advised to not venture into the sea for fishing between November 9 and 12.

In another development, former Chief Minister and AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselvam requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funds to carry out relief work in flood-hit areas. Panneerselvam, in a letter on Monday, referred to the water inundation in Chennai and suburbs due to heavy rainfall and said apart from relief and rescue operations, ex-gratia payments have to be made for the damage to huts and dwellings.

"In addition to this, reconstruction of public infrastructure shall also be carried out," Panneerselvam said. Panneerselvam also told Modi in the letter that the people of Tamil Nadu were grateful to him for assuring the Union government's support in relief and rescue operations. "I therefore request you to issue suitable instructions to the Ministry of Finance for release of funds to Tamil Nadu so as to carry out timely rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations," Panneerselvam told Modi.

With IANS and PTI inputs

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