Civic body has sought Rs. 390 cr. to clean drains
The Coimbatore Corporation is in the middle of too many things – city expansion, delimitation of wards, local body elections, various Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) projects and a few more.
But has it overlooked the impending North East Monsoon and the need for keeping the drains silt-free in the city? Not in the least, say Corporation officials. The civic body has cleaned the canals and they are monsoon-ready.
Five natural drains – Sanganur, Ganapathy-Singanallur, Vilankurichi-Singanallur, Kovilmedu and Karuparayan Kovil – run for over 35 km within the city limit. The biggest of those is the Ganapathy-Singanallur drain, which covers 13.86 km, followed by Vilankurichi-Singanallur – 11 km, and Sanganur, which covers 10.18 km.
Sanganur, as the Corporation has identified, is one of the arterial drains carrying 441 cubic metres of water a second (cumecs) at the entry point and 541 cumecs as it enters the Singanallur Tank.
In 1987, the Sanganur drain witnessed flooding. The reduced waterway was incapable of discharging the flood water, which overflowed onto the road and inundated low lying areas – Lakshmipuram, areas near Ramakrishna Hospital, Rajaji Nagar and a few other localities.
Again in 1992, the natural drain could not handle the excess water, which breached the bund, overflowed and inundated Meena Estate and neighbouring areas.
Councillors, however, do not buy the officials' version. They fear flooding if the monsoon were to be good this year because the Corporation had hardly done anything to clear the drain off silt, construction debris, encroachments, etc.
The width of the drain has narrowed, rues V.K.S.K. Senthilkumar, Councillor, Ward 33. “The Corporation should clean the drain, remove encroachments and lay roads on both sides of the drain to reduce traffic congestion in the city and also prevent encroachments,” he suggests.
P. Rajkumar, Councillor, Ward 71, is also of the same opinion. The civic body has done very little to clean the drain, he alleges.
However much the Corporation may clean the drain, there is nothing much it can do because the railway track at the place where the drain discharges water into the Singanallur Tank will obstruct flow, says R.S. Thirumugham, Councillor, Ward 23.
The Corporation should soon find a solution by talking to the Railway authorities, else the low lying areas in the locality – Bharathidasan Nagar, Sakthi Nagar, Balaji Nagar, PVS Garden and neighbouring areas - will get affected.
Corporation sources, however, maintain, they have removed silt, encroachments and widened the drain area in the last two years.
In North Zone alone the Corporation has desilted the drain, constructed retaining walls and carried out works for around Rs. 20 lakh in the recent past.
The sources also add that the Sanganur drain will not be flooded because the Public Works Department has constructed a check dam in Kanuvai to divert a good portion of the water to the Chinna Vedampatti tank.
The sources also say that the Corporation has proposed the cleaning up of not only the Sanganur drain but also others under the JNNURM scheme. After completing the two phases of the storm water drainage work, the Corporation will place a demand before the Central Government for funds. The civic body has asked for Rs. 390 crore to clean all the drains.