Residents blame total neglect by owners and the civic body

Open residential plots that dot many of the newly promoted residential layouts and even some within the heart of the city are proving to be civic nuisance and a health hazard.

Although the problem is common across the city, it is felt more acutely in low-lying areas such as Karumandapam. More than a dozen colonies between Karumandapam and Dheeran Nagar, a two-km stretch on the Tiruchi-Dindigul Highway, have scores of such vacant spaces right in the midst of well-developed and developing layouts such as Sakthi Nagar, Thiru Nagar, New Selva Nagar, Alpha Nagar, JP Nagar and Kalyanasundaram Nagar.

Acquired as a long-term investment by residents within the city and those who have migrated to other parts of the country who do not have any immediate plans of constructing houses, these open plots are now turning into sewage ponds and convenient dumping grounds for solid waste by some callous residents and shopkeepers in the vicinity. The recent spells of showers over the past fortnight in the city has only aggravated the problem.

The sewage and rain water stagnating at these plots have turned breeding grounds for mosquitoes. With the entire area still remaining out of the underground sewer network of the city, open drains constructed in some of the colonies by the corporation often seep into the open plots.

The drains do not have a proper disposal arrangement and consequently, the drains by themselves present a picture of squalor in places such as Sakthi Nagar.

“The stagnant sewage in empty plots and accumulation of solid wastes pose a major problem. It is time that the civic authorities initiate some measures to clean up the open spaces or devise some ways to force the owners to maintain their plots properly,” says Balan, a resident from Karumandapam.

Residents also complain that the total neglect of the plots by both the owners and the civic body has resulted in thick growth of bushes.

“People who have bought the plots as an investment option should maintain them at least once three months. But they hardly bother to do so. Consequently, the wild growth offers a good refuge to snakes and insects. It is not safe to go around some of these places surrounded by the empty plots in the nights,” regrets C.Balasubramanian, a resident of the locality and president of the District Exnora.

The corporation faced with a severe shortage of sanitary staff hardly has the manpower to clean up vast areas in the interior areas of residential colonies.

Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani’s recent initiative to organise mass cleaning campaigns in specific wards has been stymied by the opposition from councillors who resist any attempt to mobilise the sanitary workers assigned to their wards to other parts of the city.

A section of residents feel that the civic body should continue such mass cleaning drives, at least by roping in service organisations.