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Southern States - Tamil Nadu-Chennai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Metrowater polluting Virugambakkam canal

By Karthik Subramanian

CHENNAI Aug. 1. What is cleaned at enormous cost to the taxpayer at one end is sullied at the other by the same department. That is the plight of the Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam canal, which is being flooded with sewage by Metrowater, even while work is in progress in the Rs 1,700-crore Chennai City River Conservation Project (CCRCP) to clean the waterways of the city.

For more than a year now, sewerage from parts of Sayee Nagar (annexe), Ayyappa Nagar, Kumaran Nagar, Vedha Nagar and adjoining areas at Virugambakkam have been routed into the canal through storm water drains.

Reportedly, the local Metrowater officials arrived at the `arrangement' after the collapse of a sewage chamber in a pumping station at Kulasekarapuram near Koyambedu last year.

``Being a low-lying area, the region gets inundated easily. The situation went out of control when sewerage began overflowing on to the roads and entered houses. With no other option at hand, the sewage was routed into the canal. Besides this, several other illegal connections keep discharging sewage into the canal everyday,'' a civic official said.

A disturbing trend for residents now is that of ``man hole bursts'' and ``sewer line dislodges''.

Last month, sewerage started flowing on Natesan Nagar Second Main Road and entered the households and shops. Metrowater officials identified the problem as a ``sewer line dislodge''.

A few months earlier, the sewerage line in Majid Nagar (division 129) collapsed dangerously close to some hutments. The area adjoins Kulasekarapuram. On Thursday, a motor pump was used to bale out the sewage here into the well of nearby pumping station.

Similar problems are also experienced by the residents of MGR Street in Saligramam.

Senior Metrowater officials contend that work had been taken up on a war footing.

``The repair work at Kulasekarapuram is complete and sewer lines would be restored within the next 15 days,'' an officer said. However, the residents of the area are not willing to accept any promises.

``When we presented a memorandum to the senior officials at the Metrowater head office in March, they promised us that the work would be completed within three months. But even before the restoration of sewer lines, more connections are being routed into the canal,'' says the president of Sayee Nagar Women's Exnora, S.Punita.

The conditions in the region have led to largescale breeding of mosquitoes.

Residents here shudder at the thought of what it would be like during the monsoon.

``We are accustomed to water entering the households. That is manageable, but how does one get rid of sewage that enters the house,'' asks Meenakshi Ramanathan, a resident of Natesan Nagar.

Last month, overflowing sewage inundated her garden.

Incidentally, it is not known whether Metrowater has even considered commissioning a study on the reasons for repeated damage to sewerage lines in the area.

Local officials attribute the problems to the `sub-soil conditions' there. Besides, several multi-storeyed buildings have come in the area in recent years.

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