India: 35% of Chennai’s stormwater drains are not ready for rains

Source(s): Hindu, The

By Aloysius Xavier Lopez

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Following a spell of rainfall, residents in the city have begun urging the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and the Public Works Department to initiate measures for monsoon preparedness, and desilt drains, canals and waterways.

Usually, the GCC commences desilting of stormwater drains (SWD) and canals a few months ahead of the onset of the northeast monsoon in October. This year, however, many drains along key areas have not been desilted, residents said.

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S. Janakarajan, former professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, said the city’s drainage network is not prepared for the northeast monsoon, expected later this year. “Thousands of kilometres of stormwater drains are choked. For the city as a whole, we have not learnt any lessons from the past. We do not know how to handle a good monsoon or a bad monsoon. We need structural changes in the drain network, which takes care of all waterbodies, too,” he said.

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According to data compiled by experts who have been studying the flood preparedness of the city, over 25% of the total area in Chennai, including Velachery, Madipakkam, Alandur, T. Nagar, Mambalam, Chetpet and George Town, are prone to inundation.

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