45-year-old Mani, a resident of Kanimedu village in Villupuram district in Tamil Nadu, had to dangerously cross a branch of the Palar River to come to Mandagapattu, just a couple of km away, on Thursday morning to check the damage that Cyclone Nivar has caused to his crops.
The two villages are located very close just divided by the stream. But the rains that pounded the northern Tamil Nadu coast under the influence of Cyclone Nivar since Tuesday submerged the ground-level bridge that connects the two hamlets, which are near Marakkanam, where the cyclone made its landfall.
But when Mani made the journey in the river that was in spate, he had water above his waist.
“What else can I do? The detour via Marakanam is around seven km and I do not have a motorcycle. I took the risk to cross the river which is in spate due to the rains and I had the shock of my life when I saw my paddy field submerged in water. We just hope the water recedes in just a few days so that the crops are saved,” Mani told DH before taking the “risk” yet again to reach home.
This is not the first time that the residents of Kanimedu and Mandagapattu are suffering due to torrential rains. Aadhi Lakshmi, who works in agriculture fields, said the monsoon season is a nightmare for residents of Mandagapattu.
“We do not get even a match box in our village. We have to go to Kanimedu or Marakkanam to get our supplies. The ground-level bridge gets submerged if there is heavy rain in the region. We have to survive on whatever we have till the water level reduces here,” she said.Though their demand for a bridge fell to the deaf ears of authorities, the district administration was in full attendance at the village on Thursday morning to check the damages due to Cyclone Nivar. “At least they came today. Otherwise, they do not turn up,” she said, adding that trees that fell due to the cyclone were cleared swiftly on Thursday morning.
65-year-old Paavadai, who has cultivated paddy in a couple of acres of land, is hoping against the hope that the water recedes very soon. “The paddy crop that I cultivated just a few weeks ago is under the water. This is our only source of income and I am just hopeful the water recedes soon and the crop is saved,” he said, as he asked the children of the village not to go near the river.
The river has become the centre of attraction now with people from near-by villages coming in auto rickshaws and motorcycles to look at the river in spate.