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Chennai: Intermittent rains add to people's misery

By Ians English

Chennai, Dec 6: Intermittent rains in the Tamil Nadu capital since early Sunday have added to the misery of hundreds of thousands already hit hard by the unprecedented floods, residents said.

The situation appeared to be no different in the other districts of Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore where the heaviest rains in almost 100 years and floods have claimed around 325 lives.


Despite the rains, however, the water level was receding all over Chennai but residents were beset with innumerable problems.

Large parts of Chennai are still without electricity, seriously disrupting normal life. In some areas, greedy traders were making a kill selling water, milk and other basic necessities at high prices.

"Our apartment is flooded. Yesterday a man swam to our second flood residence and sold a milk packet for Rs.150," a woman said, adding she was grateful she at least some milk.

Kanchipuram, which is famed for saris and temples, is located 70 km from Chennai. Thiruvallur and Cuddalore are 39 and 185 km away from here respectively.

According to officials, some two lakh acres of paddy, sugarcane and other crops have been destroyed by the floods that have caused untold misery in all four districts.

Residents in some Chennai neighbourhoods complained about continued water logging. Thousands have taken shelter under flyovers and in buildings located on higher levels.

In West Mambalam, people protested outside the electricity office to demand restoration of power citing the resumption of electricity supply in neighbouring localities.

Supplies of milk and vegetable, however, showed a marked improvement in many parts of Chennai.

In contrast to unscrupulous traders, others came to the rescue of the flood hit.

"We have not jacked up prices. In fact I donated cooked food that cost me Rs.60,000," Muthu, owner of Angalaparameswari Stores, a provision store in Mylapore in south Chennai, told IANS.

Voluntary organisations and others also distributed food and biscuit packets near water-logged areas. The military continued its rescue and relief work.

But there were complaints that relief material had not reached many areas in north Chennai, causing widespread anger.

Educational institutions have been shut all across Chennai.

The Southern Railway cancelled three incoming trains due to operational reasons.

But it said all regular services from Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore stations -- the two main railway stations in the city -- would be resumed on Sunday after days of disruption.

The trains which will play on Sunday include the Chennai-New Delhi Grand Trunk Express, Chennai-Mysore Kaveri Express and Chennai-New Delhi Tamil Nadu Express.


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