Little has been done to overcome the problem posed by the stagnant and foul smelling open drains that serve as mosquito breeding grounds in the area.

Throwing open the windows to enjoy an evening’s cool breeze could be an everyday practice in many households in the city. But for residents of Anna Nagar, such simple pleasures are almost unthinkable.

Windows in almost all houses in the locality are covered with wired mesh. Doors are kept strictly closed after 5.30 p.m. and visitors in the evenings could be welcomed by heads peering out of half-opened doors. It is just a habit that residents of Anna Nagar have come to live with over the years to stay clear off the mosquitoes that swarm the locality.

Although it is one of the prime residential areas in the city, Anna Nagar has turned a notorious hotspot for mosquito breeding, thanks to the open drains that criss-cross the locality and unhygienic surroundings, accentuated by a nearby transit garbage dumping yard of the corporation along the Uyyakondan River bank.

In recent months and on several occasions over the past few years, the Corporation has claimed to have taken up a slew of dengue prevention measures. But little has been done to overcome the problem posed by the stagnant and foul smelling open drains that serve as mosquito breeding grounds in the area.

A complex network of open drains, most of them originating from Azhvarthoppu and other neighbouring areas along the Uyyakondan river, run across many of the streets in Anna Nagar, before joining a major drain near the Ramakrishna Theatre junction near Marakkadai.

This drain, which ultimately drains into the Cauvery river near Chinthamani, has been encroached upon heavily, obstructing the flow of the drains from Anna Nagar, local residents allege.

Consequently open drains in Kannadasan Street, Bharathidasan Street, Alavandar Nagar, and other parts of Anna Nagar could be seen stagnating. At many places, mounds of solid wastes including plastic wastes that have been fished out of the drains by sanitary workers could be seen lying uncollected. While Anna Nagar is covered by the underground sewer network, slum dwellers residing along the Uyyakondan River and at Azhvarthoppu are not and the entire sewage is let out into the open drains.

“One can hardly stand for a few minutes near Kannadasan Street without being overpowered by the stench. The drains form a massive breeding ground for mosquitoes. We have long been representing the matter to the authorities in vain,” says Sakunthala Srinivasan, president, Tiruchi Payaneetalar Iyakkam, and resident of Anna Nagar.

She and several other residents of the locality say that it is high time that the Corporation at least covered the open drains with concrete slabs. More importantly, steps should be taken to ensure the free flow of the drains by reconstructing them with proper gradient, they demand.

Unless the Corporation takes a serious note of the problem, residents in the area would be left to fend for themselves against the health hazards that loom large in the area.