Keezha Devadhanam residents endure a host of problems for no fault of theirs

For more than a decade now, residents of colonies along the Cauvery Road in Keezha Devadhanam in the city have been suffering silently because of a host of problems posed by a clogged open drain even while the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation claims to take up special drive to clear major drains ahead of the monsoon every year.

The open drains that flow beyond the railway gate near the Town Station along the Cauvery Road joins a canal, which is said to have been more than 30 feet wide once, near Masthan Thoppu. The canal had then served as a storm-water drain that ultimately flowed into the Cauvery.

But now the canal has been reduced to just five to seven feet thanks to encroachments, lush weed growth and indiscriminate dumping of solid waste. The canal is also inaccessible at a few places because of thick weed growth and almost runs into a dead end. A foul odour runs its course along Masthan Thoppu, Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, and other colonies and has also become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, complain local residents.

“We have been enduring untold misery because of the clogged drain for nearly 13 years. We cannot sit outside our houses in the evenings because of mosquitoes swarming around. Even children cannot play outside. We live amidst the stink. We have made repeated representations to the authorities. Whichever party comes to power promises a solution to our problem, but they never keep their word,” says Gurunathan, who lives in the area.

These colonies were once not preferred places of residence given the area’s proximity to the Oyamari burial ground. But now it is a prime area and the development has contributed to problems, says a senior citizen. The canal that runs along Masthan Thoppu is said to have been under the control the Public Works Department once and people even recall bathing in the stream. Today, it has been reduced to a stinking drain, says Mr.Gurunathan.

“We have to use three types of mosquito repellents to keep the mosquitoes away. This after having put mosquito screens on our windows,” says Saminathan, another resident.

The problem has been aggravated by the fact that many households in the area are not connected to the underground sewer lines. Some residents, including Mr. Gurunathan, say they have paid the deposit of Rs. 6,000 to the corporation but were yet to get the sewer connection.

Residents are sore that the open drain that runs from the railway gate has been badly silted up and clogged with waste, primarily plastics. Sewage from the clogged drain reportedly seeps into the drinking water sumps built in front of some houses.

A corporation official said steps were being taken to clear the canal as part of the operation launched recently.