How prepared are we for the monsoon?

With deadline on October 15, State agencies have been hastening the works on storm water drains across the city
How prepared are we for the monsoon?

CHENNAI: With the rain gods playing hide and seek, and disrupting normalcy in Chennai, officers in State agencies including the Greater Chennai Corporation, Water Resources Department (WRD) and Chennai Metro Water are now spending sleepless nights trying to complete the monsoon preparatory deadline by October 15, issued by the State top brass.

The works related to the monsoon had gained momentum and will be completed by October 15, said official sources at Ripon Building. “The scenario will be better this year when compared to the last monsoon,” they added.

Officials stated that as many as 500 locations have been identified as flood-prone, based on the previous monsoon experiences and flood mitigation works had been taken up accordingly.

“Almost 95% of the work is completed in core city. The remaining work is expected to be done by October 15. The restoration works of Kosasthalaiyar River and Kovalam basin are long term projects with a three-year deadline to complete,” said principal secretary and GCC Commissioner, Gagandeep Singh Bedi.

Potholes are a serious safety issue and often lead to road fatalities. “During the monsoon, the corporation authorities should attend to battered roads on war footing,” pointed out K Iyappan, advocate and a resident of Kodambakkam.

Commenting on the re-lay of damaged roads in Chennai, Bedi said, “The road restoration work will be carried out after works related to storm water drains, Metro Water and Tangedco are completed. The re-laying and patch works will begin from October 20 to ensure potholes are fixed,” he added.

The existing SWD is around 2,017 km in the city. The desilting work is carried out after the details are collected by the concerned ward councillors, explained a city corporation source. “In Zone 4 and 6, the work is done with the help of local workers under the Tamil Nadu Urban Employment Scheme,” the source added. “The corporation authorities have arranged 400 motor pumps to drain out the stagnant storm water from low lying areas. Pruning of avenue trees is also being done.”

The WRD had also intensified the maintenance of water bodies, which include clearing of debris, removal of silt along inlets and desilting of lakes. “The works on the major waterways in Chennai such as Cooum River, Adyar River, Buckingham Canal, Otteri Nullah, Virugambakkam Canal are now under department scanner and flood mitigation works are underway,” said a senior WRD official. “Flood prevention works like strengthening the bunds with sandbags and clearing of causeways will also be taken up based on the rainfall.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) stated that the long-range forecast for rainfall during the post-monsoon from October to December 2022 will be normal. The northeast monsoon season over the south Peninsular India including TN, Puducherry and Karaikal is most likely to be normal within 88-112% of the long period average, the weather office had said.

“This year, northern parts of TN, including Chennai, Ariyalur, Cuddalore, Kanchipuram, Nagapattinam, Tiruvallur, and Tiruvarur districts are likely to receive normal or slightly above rainfall,” said K Srikanth, an avid weather blogger. “TN may witness intense showers. Cyclonic activities are likely in October. But November will be the crucial period with incidence of more depressions and cyclone formations in the sea.”

The southwest monsoon brought intense rainfall for TN compared to previous years. “For example, a few years ago, the rainfall from thunderstorms recorded 1-2 cm, but now the city receives 4-5 cm of rainfall in 24 hours. Both the State and city are expected to record more rainfall this year,” noted the weather blogger.

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