Monsoon’s first big show leaves traffic dead slow

Even as all departments, including the police, chest thumped that they were all ready to tackle the monsoon, the Monday’s downpour claimed its first victim - roads.
Monsoon’s first big show leaves traffic dead slow
Vehicles crawling on an arterial road after heavy rains lashed the city (Photo: Manivasagan N)

Chennai

All commuters - students, office-goers shoppers and others - were badly affected. It was almost a traffic grid lock in the city which lasted for several hours.  Train services were disrupted on Monday evening after four of the tracks at Tambaram station were flooded. Several flights were also delayed/cancelled due to bad weather. Private cab aggregators made a killing throughout the day as taxi fares shot up by a huge margin due to the increase in demand. 
According to the Regional Meteorological Centre, the city received widespread rainfall with Taramani recording the highest (90 mm), while Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam weather stations recorded 60 mm and 65 mm respectively. 
“More rain is expected over the next 24 hours with heavy to very heavy rainfall in all coastal districts,” said S Balachandran, director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre.  Despite claims by the Corporation, city police and the state government on having made elaborate preparations for the monsoon, the first major spell of rainfall exposed chinks the monsoon preparedness of the administration with no visible change in the ground situation. 
“This is a collective failure, as residents, too, are to be blamed for choking storm water drains with garbage and encroachments,” said disaster management expert Ganapathy G P echoing the voice of the affected public. 
Two deaths: Meanwhile, two youngsters, Lokesh (19) and Kishore (17), from Anakaputhur died after they were struck by lightning when they were on the terrace of one of their houses around 9 pm.  
Holiday declared 
The Government has announced holiday for all schools and colleges in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts on Tuesday. The decision to declare holiday for institutions was taken after the weather department forecast heavy rain in many parts of the state, especially in northern districts, sources said.
Claims 
These were the claims made by officials when assuring rain-preparedness 
  • 18,000 conservancy and road work staff deployed to clear out water logging on Oct 30 
  • 24x7 control room set up to handle all rain-related complaints 
  • 105 calls (and counting) received on water logging and stagnation 
  • 60 high-power pumping machines provided for instant action on field 
  • 22 subways under Corporation control and six under Highways Department being monitored
Reality
This is what Chennaiites faced on Day 1 of the onset on monsoons
  • Water logging in all low-lying areas due to choked storm water drains 
  • Traffic stalled for several hours across the city during peak hours 
  • Few policemen seen on roads regulating the traffic 
  • Public transport was slow, autos and taxis did not function in several areas

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