Nature and its fury generally takes a toll on people but little do we realize that this 2015 Tamil Nadu floods could have been clearly avoided if only we have learnt lessons from what happened in 2005 and previous floods.
The Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha suggests that the state machinery has been working on round the clock on war footing. True to that the State Government officials & Central machinery (NDRF) have been deployed across most affected areas in Chennai city, districts of Cuddalore, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur but unfortunately all these measures have been simply reactive and hardly proactive.
There are four major points which could have been taken up post 2005 floods to ensure that such floods do not ever occur in Tamil Nadu
1) Desilting of Lakes aka Thoor Varudhal (தூர் வாருதல்)
In spite of fact that the current BJP led Central Government has allocated 1,200 crores for Desilting projects in the state, none of these funds have been translated into actual projects on floor. Especially in southern district areas, this has predominantly been the major issue laid by members of the farming community.
This reduces the holding capability of the existing 20,000 lakes in Tamil Nadu thus leading to overflow of water from the water bodies giving rise to floods and slowly over a period of time these Lakes turn up into dried up water bodies.
2) Illegal Encroachment of dried up Water bodies
This has been the biggest culprit from 1967, for nearly five decades the major Dravidian political parties have been illegally acquiring lands in dried up water bodies and filling them up, post which these have been identified as no man’s land for development areas.
These activities have been aided by most corrupt state machineries like Public Welfare Department (PWD), Tasildhar offices for acquiring PATTAS, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) and finally the lands are transferred to High profile Real Estate agents.
In Chennai areas like Velachery, Pallikaranai, Shollinganallur & Madipakkam are typical such examples and no Political party (AIADMK or DMK) took any steps to curb such Illegal Encroachment from these areas and these areas are the ones which have been most affected.
3) Blockage of Kanmaai (கண்மாய்) aka Entry for lakes
Again in this case clearing of Kanmaai (கண்மாய்) is one such activity which should have taken up by the State Government during Desilting projects but again since none of the funds was used, this was ignored as well and most of the entry to major water bodies were blocked giving rise to floods.
4) Illegal Sand Mining
Along with real estate, this Illegal sand mining activity goes on hand in hand with all major state political parties in Tamil Nadu. If only State Government had constructed barricades along the dry beds of river, we could have avoided such flood scenario in Tamil Nadu.
With the State assembly elections for 2016 coming up in the next 6 months, all flood relief activities have taken an ugly twist with the opposition parties like DMK, MDMK, DMDK & PMK using their media houses to spew venom on AIADMK Ministers, ignoring the fact they were equally responsible for the cause of this incremental man made disaster.
The ruling party in return has equally used this as a campaign ground for the elections by employing their very own media houses. Unfortunately all political parties have failed to work in tandem to support the needs of its citizens while Chennai the Capital of the state has been looming under this flood crisis for nearly a week now.
2016 is going to be an interesting election for political analysts, with questions as to whether this flood will play spoil sport for AIADMK camp who has already been charged with heavy artillery of an anti incumbency mood among the citizens. The DMK camp also seems to face crisis with it losing steam ever since the consecutive loses of the role of Opposition party in 2009 and complete washout in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
No wonder the state of Tamil Nadu has been crying out for a corrupt free Third alternative for decades.