Chennai: Overflowing lakes and tanks, submerged roads, subways, potholes and manholes indistinguishable under a thick sheet of water, traffic stopped, trains cancelled and diverted, and the Army called in — it has seldom been this good and so bad for the metro during the monsoon.
Even as two columns of the Army’s Garrison Infantry Battalion were deployed in Tambaram and Urapakkam for rescue work, Chennai spent Tuesday shivering in cold and fear. The weatherman predicted more rains in the next three days due to a trough of low pressure near north Tamil Nadu.
The showers that began in the morning went on almost incessantly throughout the day, debilitating the city and its citizens in the process. In the 12 hours between 8.30 am and 8.30 pm, the city received as much as 186 mm rains. Substantial but not historic, not even the worst during this monsoon season. However, as this came on the back of incessant showers all through November that had already filled up all water bodies in and around the city, lakes and tanks began overflowing before long. Some lakes even breached, drowning streets and houses along their course. Worsening the situation, water managers had to release water from the reservoirs that were already filled to the brim in the recent record rains.
Roads and subways were inundated within hours, crippling movement of traffic within the city and even outside. Vehicles were crawling bumper-to-bumper, inch by inch, and many stalled when water level continued to go up with each passing hour. Soon afterwards, suburban rail lines were affected, most seriously in the southern parts where floodwater inundated railway tracks beyond Pallavaram. Even the northern part was not spared, as EMU services were cancelled after a few hours. With the tracks submerged, many express trains had to be cancelled while several others had to be diverted. Later in the night, Chennai airport authorities went into a huddle after rainwaters began inching up, and suspended operations in the evening. The officials said they would review the situation on Wednesday.
(Clockwise from top) Vehicles crawl through the flooded Jawaharlal Nehru Salai between Vadapalani and Koyambedu as torrential rains pounded the city on Tuesday; a dog tries to cross the road; a car that fell into a drain on the Porur bypass service road; a patient being shifted in pouring rain near the Tambaram Government Hospital | A RAJA CHIDAMBARAM, shiba prasad sahu
As showers continued without any let up, traffic on the arterial GST Road came to a halt after water bodies in the southern part began overflowing on to residential areas and roads. Other approaches to the thickly populated areas too went under, cutting off Tambaram almost completely. Even buses headed to the southern regions of the State that passed through the road, it took nearly seven hours to reach Tambaram from Koyambedu, a trip that would normally take less than an hour. Though the rains intensified in the morning, scores had already left for work before the warnings came in. Realising the risk, many companies declared a holiday and sent staff back on their vehicles.
PM calls up jaya, assures support
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening called up Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and enquired about the flood situation in the State. He assured all support and cooperation to the State government in handling the natural calamity.
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