Chennai: With water receding from most areas in Chennai and its suburbs, sanitation and conservancy workers face the mammoth task of removing one lakh tonnes of stinking garbage littering the streets as bright sunshine further eased the situation.
Over 30,000 sanitation workers have been pressed into service to quickly clear the rubbish including polythene bags, mattresses, rotting foodgrains and other household articles strewn across the city in the aftermath of the unprecedented deluge to prevent outbreak of epidemics though no such instances have come to light so far.
According to Municipal Corporation of Chennai, 10,000 tonnes of garbage has been removed so far during the last two days.
22,500 sanitation workers of the corporation, besides 8000 odd sourced from elsewhere are working overtime to dispose of the waste on 600 vehicles at their disposal, officials said.
Despite the sun shining bright for the second day running, stagnant sewage water due to choked drains in some areas like T Nagar was posing a major health hazard, becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has announced the government will distribute 2000 tonnes of bleaching power and one crore chlorine tablets to people in rain-hit areas of the state, including Chennai, for disinfecting the affected places and purifying drinking water.
Each beneficiary household will be given half a kilo of bleaching powder to be sprinkled around and 20 chlorine tablets to purify water, she said.
Meanwhile, Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram, which bore the brunt of rain, heaved a sigh of relief as the weather office forecast continued relatively rain-free days.
However, other coastal districts and interior Tamil Nadu may witness heavy rainfall over the next 24 hours, Regional Meteorological Director S Balachandran said.
Jayalalithaa announced more sops for the people of the rain-ravaged parts of the state, including extending of date for payment of electricity bills for December till January 31 without any penalty. She also said there would be no half-yearly exams in schools.
1,105 medical camps being run by the state government will continue to serve the flood-hit.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi toured rain-affected parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and urged the state and central governments to be "more responsive" to people's plight.
"I would like to tell the Government of Tamil Nadu and Government of India that they need to do a lot more for the people of Tamil Nadu, they need to be much more responsive."
"The state government and the national government need to respond to this (the tragedy) and take action as fast as possible," he said.