Water problem haunts the residents of ward 63 who get water contaminated with sewage

Ward 63, spread mainly over Villapuram, has a history. Its councillor, K. Leelavathy, representing the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who fought for better civic amenities, particularly drinking water supply, was murdered by a gang on April 23, 1997.

Seventeen years after her death, there has not been any dramatic change here. Drinking water problem haunts the residents like a ghost.

G. Meena, a resident of Velu Pillai Street in Villapuram, says her toddler, other children and elders in her street constantly fall sick with diarrhoea. And the reason, she says, is the supply of drinking water mixed with sewage.

“Only half the number of houses in our street get proper water supply. The others, like us, get water supply for only less than half an hour once in four days. Because of sewage contamination, we buy packaged drinking water,” she complains.

The construction of an Elevated Water Service Reservoir at Villapuram under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission in 2009 is of no use to the residents of the 25 streets in ward 63, who say they face water woes every day.

“The reservoir was constructed in 2009. Until two years ago, water was stored in it on the night before supply date. That way, there was proper water supply to all the households. But there is no use of the reservoir now,” says R. Marichamy, a retired employee of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, a resident of the ward.

“Because the water is supplied through underground pipes, there is no pressure in water flow and half the houses do not get proper supply. Due to leakage in the underground drains, sewage mixes with drinking water,” he adds.

P. Narayanan, another resident, says that the piped water smells of sewage. “Sometimes water is supplied at midnight. We are buying packaged drinking water.”

School cries for attention

The corporation middle school in the ward was established in 1979. Ever since, it is functioning in a rented building on Velu Pillai Street.

At present, the school has 230 students.

“There were times when we even had 900 students. Despite several representations made through the councillor, we have not been provided a permanent building. The school cannot be upgraded into a higher secondary school because it does not function in a permanent building,” rues a teacher.

Water supplied to the school comes with sewage sediments, the teacher complains. “We have two water tanks. But, we do not use them at all,” she adds. “Whenever it rains, there is a pool of water inside the school. We spread gunny bags and make students sit on them,” says another teacher.

No police station

The ward, which was notorious for crime in the city until a few years ago, has no police station. “There is a police outpost, but most of the time there is nobody on duty. Whenever there is an incidence of crime, we alert the Keeraithurai police,” says Mr. Marichamy.

Connecting road

G. Rakkappan, an elderly resident, says that a road from Villapuram to Chinthamani should be laid for easy commutation.

“There was a proposal sometime ago and land owners were willing to part with their property. But nothing has materialised. If the road is laid, it would reduce traffic congestion here and facilitate easy commutation,” he concludes.

More In: Madurai