Chennai deluge gives out a wakeup call

The leading automobile hub of the country turned into a chaotic boat race venue after the floodgates of heaven opened up, pummelling the city from above. The incessant torrential rains broke every record of the last hundred years, bringing the hi-tech city to a halt for more than a fortnight. Chennai witnessed its worst ever flooding with infrastructure disrupted largely. Amidst submerged rail routes, waterlogged roads and closed airports; boats were deployed to rescue and transport marooned people to safer grounds. The Army, Navy and IAF also had to step in to tackle the situation.

While the tragedy incurred approximate damages and losses to every sphere of life, real estate market seems to have suffered the biggest blow. Besides loosing tonnes of building material at sites a big challenge at hand is the likelihood of projects suffering exorbitant losses due to delays. With waterlogged structures and deficient materials, it seems construction industry will take time to come back to normalcy.

While the flood waters recede and the city grapples back to routine; significant question now is why a metropolitan city of that stature crumbled like a house of cards? Was it purely nature’s wrath or a man-made catastrophe? Constructing gated communities and special economic zones on catchment areas; building Mass Rapid Transit System on the Buckingham Canal; locating Information Technology corridor on a water body; and apartment complexes coming up on river flood plains. Don’t all of these visibly point towards mankind? All the water bodies are facing reckless destruction and wet lands are being forced to accommodate more concrete structures. The common man of Chennai paid a heavy price for wary indifference towards ecosystem by the powerful.

With reckless urbanisation and negligence towards the ecosystem, Chennai floods are just another wake-up call from nature. While the world has come together to help Chennai get back to its pace, it is time for some serious intervention. Let’s bear in mind that every step towards urbanisation could take us many steps back, if not planned well. Chennai has raised an alarm which truly calls for some intelligent action. 

About the author

Nitasha Jain is Manager, Marketing & Communications for Colliers International in India. She has 9+ years of experience in building focused and effective communication for diverse fields including Real Estate, IT, Hospitality and Lifestyle.

Colliers International | Mumbai, Indiabulls Finance Centre, 17th Floor, Unit No. 1701, Tower 3, Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone (W), Mumbai 400 013, Maharashtra, India | Tel: +91 022 4924 9780