Delhi doctor recounts Chennai agony

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) A Delhi doctor who got stuck in Chennai took 12 hours to reach Bengaluru by road, motoring through heavily flooded roads before taking a flight home that cost him over Rs.25,000.

“It was a terrible, terrible state of affairs that I saw,” Surinder Singh of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told IANS.

The doctor had gone to Chennai to attend a conference when a sudden downpour — the worst in 100 years — turned the city into a virtual sea of water, crippling everything including transport services.

And with Chennai airport ordered shut till December 6, he had no option but to make it to Bengaluru — a road distance that normally takes no more than six hours.

But the streets of Chennai were water-logged, at places up to one foot or more, and no transporter was willing to risk any journey.

One man finally agreed, and the doctor and two other invitees to the conference got into his vehicle, leaving the hotel in Chennai at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

“Every street was under water, the only difference being how much water,” the doctor told IANS. “Everyone was walking barefoot. I saw no municipal staff doing anything to clear the mess. The only people from the government on the roads were drenched traffic policemen.

“Several roads were blockaded too. At one place we saw protests by residents demanding food and water. Entire markets appeared to have gone under water. Posh or middle class areas, there was no difference.

“Our driver kept taking detours, and so he kept going.

“With no electricity and no telephones, it was a miserable state of affairs. Luckily, my mobile continued to work,” said Singh, who has lived all his life in the national capital.

The doctor and his companions eventually reached Bengaluru airport at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, a full 12 hours later. By then, all flights to Delhi had either taken off or were fully booked.

He got a ticket on a budget carrier on Thursday morning, shelling out Rs.25,600. On the same flight, business class tickets were being sold for Rs.41,000. All because the Chennai airport passengers had begun to flood Bengaluru airport.

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