Chennai: Remember 2015 floods that hit Chennai badly. The blockage in free flow of rain water and improper bunds of two major rivers – Adyar river and Kosasthalaiyar river – were claimed to be the major reason why the city was flooded, say activists.
The South Chennai which was worst hit by Adyar river, is now set to meet the current monsoon, where the height of the bunds have been increased. However, North Chennai is not ready as the DPR (Detailed Project Report) on stormwater drainage construction is still in its final stage.
Rs 19 crore budget
The plans to strengthen the bunds of Adyar river from Adhanur to Thiruneermalai is nearing completion. A sum of Rs 19 crore has been allocated for the work.
Sources from the PWD and Water Resources Department conferred that 2015 floods have left Adyar river with breaches and weirs were not properly channelised. Now, the weirs were repaired in Adhanur.
Heightened bunds, lowered hopes
Surban areas that falls near the border of Chembarambakkam lake which pours into Adyar river met a huge loss during the 2015 floods.
Residents of Thiruneermalai says, “The bund height is quite low. Although the bunds are heightened and strengthened, we want the boundries of the rivers to be marked properly.”
Meanwhile, the residents from Anakaputhur and Pozhichalur say though the bunds were raised near Thiruneermalai, it is not so from Anakaputhur bridge to Cowl Bazaar bridge, Pozhichalur.
Balasubramanian, a resident says, “No sign of bund construction is seen here at Pozhichalur. Over 200 houses in this area are suffering badly. Already, the last two-day rains increased the water level and it is said heavy rains are expected for the next five days. Without bunds, we are worried about our safety.”
Kosasthalaiyar ups Chennai flood risk
While city is preparing for the monsoon in all possible ways, the approval of Kosasthalaiyar stormwater drains and canal project is still getting delayed. The Rs 3,000 crore project has seen no development for the past five years. Sources from the Corporation has revealed that the DPR is at its final stage and they are exploring funding options. The original proposal covered 1055 km of drains to be constructed to prevent water logging.
The residential colony near Ennore holds up about 2,000 unauthorised houses. However, residents claim that they are paying property, water and electricity taxes to the government.
Recalling 2015 floods, a resident said, “Around 4 am, our neighbours came and told us that a nearby lake had breached and asked us to evacuate immediately. We feared for our lives and all our belognings were washed way.”
With the onset of the northeast monsoon areas such as Nandiambakkam, Minjur, Kodungaiyur, Napalayam, Manali, Ernavoor, Edayanchavadi, Sadayankuppam, Vyasarpadi, Ezhil Nagar, KKD Nagar, Washermanpet, Korrukkupet, R K Nagar and Ennore and other areas of North Chennai will be flooded yet again if action is not taken, activists say.
The two endless issues
“The Ennore Creek and Kosasthalaiyar river are the most important rivers of Chennai. The Kamarajar Port expansion and the dumpage of fly ashes of the thermal line blocks free flow of rivers. If the situation is going to be the same, Chennai will face heavy loss like 2015 floods this time too,” says Natraj, a NGO worker.
NGOs raise voice
Many NGO workers are raising their voice against Ennore Port expansion and many campaigns like #saveennorecreek, #savekosasthalaiyar are being run by them.