Silt clearing often proves ineffective as it is taken up in bits and pieces and does not cover the entire length

After a bout of sharp showers in the city last week, a motorcycle rider wading through rainwater mixed with sewage fell into a roadside ditch at the narrow intersection linking the Pattabiraman Pillai Road and the Anna Nagar Main Road in the city.

He managed to recover quickly after the fall along with this vehicle. But fully drenched and shaken over the narrow escape, he limped away, cursing the civic administration. Such experiences are becoming common for motorists in the city these days.

Inundation of some of the arterial roads, especially on certain stretches on lower plain, has become a recurrent problem during the monsoon.

Flooding in specific locations on Pattabiraman Pillai Road, Lawsons Road, the St. John’s Vestry School junction, several parts of Thillai Nagar and Woraiyur, the old Madurai Road stretch between Natharsha Pallivasal and the Holy Cross School and some places around the Chathram and Central Bus Stands are routine.

Poor maintenance of a network of open drains that serve as a storm-water drain to discharge the rain flow into the Cauvery have made the problem acute over the past few years. In many of these places, sewage from open drains mix with the rainwater making it a harrowing experience for pedestrians and even two-wheeler riders.

“Even a slight shower is enough to leave the Pattabiraman Pillai Road intersection flooded. With buses and heavy vehicles plying through the narrow road, people are often left stranded as mopeds and motorcycles break down. At times, even small cars are unable to negotiate the flooded road,” says C. Ashok, a resident of Thennur. Notwithstanding the annual pre-monsoon silt clearing exercise taken up by the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation, the drainage network of the city is not able to carry the sudden surge of water flow.

The exercise often proves ineffective as it is taken up in bits and pieces and does not cover the entire length of the drains. Besides, drains have shrunk at many places because of encroachments.

The Thennur Rettai Vaical, which forms a vital link in the network of drains along with the Kottai, Virupachipuram, Vannarapettai, Kathan, Thotti, Devadhanam, and Tharanallur canals in the city, could be seen clogged and encroached upon at several places along its course starting from Thennur to Annamalai Nagar where it joins the Kottai Vaical. Last week, rainwater seeped into some houses at Vaduvur and Rahamaniapuram in Thillainagar areas.

Local residents blame the corporation for this. The civic body recently removed silt on the canal, between Thillai Nagar VII Cross and Salai Road. But the upstream and downstream portions remain clogged at many places. According to sources, there were at least 30 houses encroaching and obstructing the flow of the canal. The canal, measuring six to eight feet in width, has shrunk to two or three feet as houses have been built over it.

An encroachment on the canal at Salai Road has long remained untouched even though civic officials concede that it posed a problem. Corporation sources said the steps were being taken to clear the silt on the canal downstream in Annamalai Nagar soon.

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