Important component of flood prevention project yet to take off

With the land acquisition process yet to be completed, the plan to widen the Kudamuritti River, one of the major components of the Rs.253 crore flood prevention project sanctioned a few years back, remains a non-starter.

Flood overflows from the 6.1 km-long Kudamuritti River running between its originating point at the Puthur Weir and the Cauvery River, its discharge, has caused havoc at times of floods in the city over the past couple of decades. The Public Works Department had planned to widen the river, apart from strengthening the bunds of its right flank and carrying out improvements at the Puthur Weir.

While works on strengthening the left flank of the river is almost complete, the work on the construction of an aqueduct to regulate the water flow into the Uyyakondan River from the Puthur Weir is underway on full swing. But unless the Kudamuritti River was widened, the flood prevention measures would not be complete, feel a section of residents of the colonies that are routinely flooded due to overflows from the river.

Though the river’s capacity is less than 9,000 cusecs, it has carried up to 35,000 cusecs at times of floods in the past. Widening the contour river (which does not have a bund on the left flank) has thus been felt essential, to prevent frequent flooding of the residential areas off the Vayalur Road. Though the contour river has been so designed to ensure that the flood waters could head up on the left flank for some time whenever the Cauvery River was in spate, rapid urbanisation has made it essential that the river’s capacity be increased to carry the maximum flood discharge.

“Every monsoon gives us the jitters. Thankfully, we have not seen major flooding over the past few years. But the PWD should expedite the work and ensure peace of mind to the large number of residing beyond the Kudamuritti river bridge on the Vayalur Road,” says Gopalakrishnan, a resident.

Currently, the river’s width ranges between 10 to 35 metres and the PWD had planned to widen it to 65 metres under the project. The PWD has earmarked Rs.23 crore for widening the river, including payment of compensation for land and structures that are to be acquired. Proposals for the land acquisition have been forwarded to the government. But the proposal is yet to be firmed up. Only after the land acquisition is cleared and government order issued that the PWD could prepare revised estimates for the work as a few years have passed by since the original plan was worked out.