Kutcha roads effectively block canal’s outlets

While the mushroom growth of residential layouts on the outskirts is viewed as a sign of a boom in real estate business, residents who have built houses and moved into such developing areas face several peculiar civic problems.

A typical case is Dhanarathinam Nagar and the adjoining Mahalakshmi Nagar, off the Thanjavur road in the city. Though both the colonies have been in existence for over a decade now, they are still not fully developed in terms of civic amenities.

A canal that had apparently served as an irrigation channel for the adjoining agricultural lands, which are fast giving way to residential plots now, is proving to be a headache for residents in fourth cross of Dhanarathinam Nagar and the opposite lane on Mahalakshmi Nagar. With more plots being promoted beyond the fourth cross of Dhanarathinam Nagar, the layout is fast expanding and the kutcha roads that are being laid by the promoters have effectively blocked the outlet for the canal.

The water from the canal often mixed with sewage overflows across Dhanarathinam Nagar IV cross road to run into Mahalakshmi Nagar on the other side. With thick growth of bushes and agricultural lands beyond the colony, residents say that they could not even trace the canal and from where the water is actually flowing.

“We do not know from where the water is flowing. Some say it is an irrigation canal while others believe it comes from a drainage canal that runs across the Thanjavur Road near Mariamman temple. Some days ago, about ankle-deep water was flowing across our road,” says John Sundar, a resident of the fourth cross at Dhanarathinam Nagar.

Some of the residents say that former minister late Mariam Pitchai who represented the ward during his tenure as a corporation councillor, had often intervened to arrange for clearing bushes and steps to drain the water. But of late, there has been no intervention from the civic authorities.

A pool of water covered with moss could still be seen stagnating behind this road. With several open plots around, the water aids the thick growth of weeds. Reeds standing as high as 10 to 12 feet could be seen in some of the plots, making them a favourite haunt for snakes and insects.

Encounters with snakes and venomous insects are frequent in the area, say residents who also have to contend with the mosquito menace. For the past several years, the corporation has been talking about penalising owners who leave open plots unmaintained, but the move is fraught with several practical difficulties. Very often, it is difficult to trace the owners, officials point out. This leaves the civic body with the prospect of having to clear such plots by itself to maintain public health and hygiene. But the corporation neither seems to have the manpower nor the inclination to carry out the task.