Drain water from canal and cover it with concrete slabs, say residents

A one-and-a-half-year-old girl child drowned in a canal near her house at Kalangarai, North Visalakshipuram, here on Saturday.

Dhanalakshmi S, a resident of North Visalakshipuram, had gone out to fetch water at 8 a.m. when her child Vijayalakshmi walked out of the house and fell into the open canal in front of their house.

When Dhanalakshmi returned home, she began searching for her child with the help of a few neighbours. Corporation workers and the area residents joined in a search in the canal and found the child’s body after an hour. The body was sent for post-mortem.

Dhanalakshmi’s husband Suresh is employed in Malaysia. The couple have another daughter, Ammu, who is three and a half years old.

Road blockade

Agitated with the child’s death, the local residents staged a road blockade at Athikulam-Reserve Line intersection, forcing traffic diversion for more than two hours.

“This is the third such incident to have happened here. No action was taken by the authorities to drain the stagnant rain water,” said K Pandi, a resident of the area.

The women residents squatted on the road and demanded the authorities to drain the water from the canal and cover it with concrete slabs. “The water has been stagnant there for the last seven years. Garbage has also been dumped in the canal, making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” said S. Kamala, another resident.

Along the narrow canal, there are small concrete houses and asbestos-roofed dwellings. The residents use bridges made of uneven wooden planks to cross the canal.

“I have fallen into the canal more than once while trying to cross it in the night,” said K. Mani, a 13-year-old boy who resides in the area.

The agitators dispersed after Tallakulam Police Inspector V Mohan and Corporation officials pacified them.

The Corporation officials inspected the canal and said efforts would be made to close soon.

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