The heavy downpour in Chennai on Thursday night and Friday morning brought back memories of the 2015 floods that had all but submerged the city. At least 14 persons reportedly died in the torrential rainfall.
The north-east monsoon battered the city which led to the Tamil Nadu disaster management authority to request residents to stay indoors. Several areas faced severe waterlogging and many were left stranded.
A 70-year-old beggar’s dead body was found floating in the flooded service lane near the Marina beach on Friday morning, reported the Times of India. In a similar incident, a man from Uttar Pradesh, identified as Mukesh, was found dead on the flooded road of Periamedu.
On Thursday night, a 60-year-old woman in Ennore died after the wall of her house collapsed on her. Since the woman, identified as Radhiya, was living alone in a dilapidated building, she was found under the debris only in the morning.
The rains became a reason of misery to several other families who lost their dear ones. But what added insult to injury were Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami’s words.
CM Palaniswami along with his deputy O Panneerslevam and senior officials visited various parts of the city hit by water-logging amid criticism of the AIADMK regime's handling of the rain situation.
"Low-lying areas with water-logging were identified in the Chennai Corporation (limits) and Kancheepuram district. Workers (here) worked on a war-footing and stagnant water has been removed," he told reporters.
And then he went on to compare Chennai’s situation with that of other metropolitan cities similarly affected by heavy rains.
"You saw how much of water stagnation was there in Bengaluru and Mumbai," Palaniswami said asserting that his government was doing a better job.
However, this statement does not hide the insensitivity towards those who died in the Chennai rains. Saying that his government was doing a better job than in Bengaluru and Mumbai undermines the deaths of the 14 persons.
While it is true that Bengaluru and Mumbai needs a lot of work towards better infrastructure to handle the rains, Chennai should have learnt its lessons from the 2015 floods and taken better precautions.
As part of the government's resolve to address the issue, a storm water drain system is being constructed for the city's needs and the work is over on 300 km of the proposed 386 km long system, said Palaniswami.
But since it can only be done after the rains stop, Chennai citizens need to be a lot more careful over the next few days since the MET department has predicted that the city will receive more rain in the next few days.