Highest rainfall in 10 years washes away Chennai’s expensive drainage, desilting projects

Questions being raised now are not just about the desilting contracts in the last few months but also about the multi-crore storm water drain projects and their technical aspects.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: November 17, 2015 7:18 pm
chennai rain, rain chennai, chennai rainfall, Tamil nadu rain, chennai news, india news, latest news, india news, rains in chennai, People wade through a waterlogged road following heavy rains at Vyasarpadi in Chennai on Friday. (Source: PTI)

Heavy rains that sank Chennai city in 24 hours was the highest rainfall in the last 10 years, says the Met department. Chennai had 246.5 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours which breaks the record of November 2005 which saw 142.4 mm, said Thambi Narayanan, deputy director general, meteorological department, Chennai.

He said the highest rainfall during the north-east monsoon was in November 1976, when the city recorded a rainfall of 452.4 mm.

Watch Video: Visuals Of Chennai Rains – Saidapet Slum On The Bank Of Adyar River

“There will be heavy rain in Chennai although it is not going to be as severe as last night. It is all about the intensity of the rain and how far it continues with that same intensity. There may be rains in the coming days too but it would be moderate. This was something we anticipated in September itself but we had alerts too that it would be above normal,” he added.

Unlike the north-east monsoons in the previous years, what makes this year’s rains different is that it was neither a depression nor a cyclone but a low pressure that played havoc with people’s lives. This low pressure system formed near Sri Lanka before moving northwards.

Visiting rain-affected areas in the north of Chennai, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said, “damages due to very heavy rains was inevitable.” She promised immediate assistance from the government to all the affected people.

However, when the Met department alert in September 2015 warned of an above normal rainfall and the same was conveyed to the government as well as to the city authorities, the corporation of Chennai did little to prepare for the situation. Making tall claims of preparations, the corporation issued statements detailing the quantity of silt already removed from drains and boasted of super suckers, jet-rod machines and desilting machines used to clear water off the roads.

Going by the scenes in various parts of city on Monday including Koyambedu, one of the busiest locations that handles thousands of inter-city buses, it looks like the tall claims of the corporation that the city will not sink were washed away in 24 hours of rain. It is evident that the storm water drain projects that drained out several crores rupees in the past two years were still clogged.

Questions being raised now are not just about the desilting contracts in the last few months but also about the multi-crore storm water drain projects and their technical aspects. Sometime in July 2014, a Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) engineer wrote a confession letter to his boss detailing how his superiors executed a multi-crore storm water drain project at Koyambedu without concrete reinforcements or cement but with quarry dust.

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  1. Y
    Nov 18, 2015 at 12:43 am
    We have forgotten the "natural water ways" and streams called "odai" in Tamil...were destro...buried up in urbanisation. Result is water knows no regulations and started occupying its own places which are in lowlying areas. That's why elderly wise people used to live around temples...naturally would be high in alude. "Kovil illa ooril kudiyirukka vendaam".
  2. S
    S Srinivasan
    Nov 16, 2015 at 11:09 pm
    The opposing political parties in Tamil Nadu should keep their motormouths shut and co-ordinate with the Government machineries at this critical situation.There is time for them to open their dirty mouths but this is not the one.
  3. B
    Nov 21, 2015 at 9:44 pm
    Karuna one of the richest Asian in the world.He corrupted tamilnadu public money. Even madam jaya also. Please provide an opportunity to captain vijayakanth.
  4. B
    Nov 21, 2015 at 9:42 pm
    Politicians karuna 90% and jaya10% fully ruined tamilnadu. Like ramana movie captain vijayakanth style we have to bring down.
  5. B
    Babu Palani
    Nov 17, 2015 at 6:29 pm
    In general, TN receives only very less rainfalls in every year. So, we need more rainfalls. I don't think anybody will have a second opinion for this. What we need is a, preparation of good infrastructure to receive the rain.
  6. D
    Nov 21, 2015 at 11:59 pm
    I know why south Chennai got flooded but people will accuse me of not being patriotic. There is an illegal construction on OTA grounds by Indian Army. They constructed a bridge obstructing the Adyar river. While construction they created embalkments on both sides obstructing the flow of river. The bridge got washed away by the river hope civil administration enforces its guidelines on river construction in OTA grounds in the future.
  7. D
    Nov 21, 2015 at 11:52 pm
    I think he is talking about koovam, he does not know its a mive drainage sir.
  8. D
    Nov 21, 2015 at 11:51 pm
    My friends are ruined. He works in commercial taxes department. He bought a house in a place called CTO colony he spent around 2 crores on his house there. Now its completely encircled with storm and sewage water. All his cars are damaged too. The insurance is not settling the full amount. The house insurance also does not cover up floods type of natural disaster and will not settle. He sold his ancestral property and moved there 3 years back. I got shocked by Insurance settlement.
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