Why Chennai went down and under

The unprecedented and continuing rains that have broken a 100-year record and have wreaked havoc in Chennai for over a week, highlight both elaborate rescue and relief efforts as well as gaps in the existing policy on disaster planning. It is true that swift deployment of the armed forces to evacuate people in affected areas and extensive rehabilitation work by the government, various NGOs, not to mention high-spirited individuals, is laudable. But as the city limps back to normalcy, it is time for introspection.

Terror attacks, massive floods, earthquakes — every such event that occurs in India appears to follow a similar pattern. Public rage, condemnation of the government, massive relief efforts, and then, as a final touch, focus on the ‘spirit of the city and people’. But we need to ask ourselves if extolling the undying spirit is a cover-up for our indifference to the lacunae in the policies of the Centre and the State governments.

True, losses were unavoidable given the record-breaking rains that lashed across the city. But what made matters worse was that people were caught unawares by the flash floods in the absence of an effective early warning system or mitigation measures.

Why is Chennai under Water

 A video from Indian Express:


The State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) has issued guidelines to District Collectors for preparedness in view of the tidal flooding alert for the Kerala coast till September 30.

According to the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, tidal flooding is likely to occur from September 25 to 30, in connection with the Perigean Spring Tide (also called Supermoon or King Tide) of September 28 when the moon is closest to the earth during its orbit.

The low lying areas along the Kerala coast, including southern Kochi, Alappuzha, Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram, are particularly vulnerable.

The phenomenon is likely to peak for three days from September 28.

Floating jetty at Nariman Point gets nod

Mumbai: A temporary floating jetty for passengers to embark and disembark while going to the proposed floatel at Nariman Point has been approved by Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). Tourists will be taken to the floatel in small boats. 

Green Tribunal says no to thermal power plant at Nayachar

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday disallowed a proposed thermal power plant at Nayachar in East Midnapore district owing to geomorphology of the island and lack of clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The Eastern Bench of NGT, presided by Justice (Retd.) Pratap Kumar Ray and Prof P. C. Mishra, directed that the coal-based thermal power plant cannot come up on the riverine island owing to its geomorphology or topographical features.

Located at the confluence of the Ganges and Haldi Rivers, the 47 sq km Nayachar Island is within 10 km of Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve which is one of the world’s richest in terms of biodiversity.

The NGT bench also noted that the affidavits of the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change on Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) criteria prohibit any such construction within a specified distance from the waterline.

The order declining permission for the plant was also based on an affidavit filed by the Geological Survey of India.