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As Chennai Buckles Under Deluge, Ideas Pour In To Act Upon Stalin’s ‘Varumun Kappom’ Slogan

People of Chennai had that horrible déjà vu of 2015 when incessant rains lashed the city, inundating many parts of the city thereby bringing the city to a grinding halt. This city which saw power cuts and some lives being lost has been witnessing water logging disasters very often. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, clad in heavy rain gear, was everywhere, wading through knee deep swirls, inspecting the flood havoc and supervising relief. Compelling optics no doubt. But, why should Chennai face this disaster almost every monsoon? The answer lies in the short term, populist vision of the two parties — DMK and AIADMK — who would rather respond to calamity than engineer prevention. And Stalin is the author of that catchy election slogan Varumun kappom (let’s prevent, before it hits). Countries like Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway have perfected water management and rainwater harvesting. Israel is the world leader in water recycling; treats 80% of sewage to produce 500 billion litres of water per annum for irrigation and public works. Why, even neighbouring Karnataka has the world’s largest rainwater harvesting project, covering over 23,000 school rooftops to harvest rainwater and prevent inundation. Surely TN can engineer a permanent solution for flooding in monsoon, and water scarcity in summer.