As heavy rains submerged roads and flooded homes ahead of Cyclone Michaung's landfall, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday said that Chennai was saved because of the stormwater drain system that was developed by the ruling DMK government.
Mr Stalin said that the Rs 4,000 crore investment in stormwater drains played a pivotal role in minimizing the impact of what he called the "47-year high rainfall".
The rainfall, he said, surpassed the figures of 2015, when intense floods had claimed 199 lives.
"Chennai received 44 cm of rain in Perungudi area and 43 cm at Meenambakkam in just 36 hours. In 2015, it was 34.5 cm and 29.4 cm in 24 hours," Mr Stalin said.
"In 2015, one lakh cusec water was let open from the Chembarambakkam reservoir. That was man-made floods. This time, it was natural flooding," he added.
He also assured the public that the drinking water supply would be fully restored in two days, and the power supply, currently at 75%, would also be fully restored by the following day.
He said that the state government will seek Rs 5,000 crore from the central government for restoration efforts.
Mr Stalin's response came after the Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly Edappadi K Palaniswami said that "Chennai was floating" despite Rs 4,000 crore storm water drains.
Ahead of the landfall of Cyclone Michaung, the MK Stalin government implemented several precautionary measures, including setting up over 61,000 relief camps across Tamil Nadu.
The government also released waters from the Chembarambakkam lake in a controlled manner to prevent a recurrence of the 2015 floods.
Meanwhile, relief and restoration work is currently underway in Chennai. Officials have also started making a comprehensive loss assessment.
"It would take longer to restore power supply in low-lying pockets like Siruseri, Perumbakkam, and Mudichur due to four-foot deep inundation and it is not safe," a senior officer told NDTV.