Collector and officials join the sensitisation drive of Uyyakondan Protection Committee

Efforts of voluntary organisations in cleaning up the urban stretch of the Uyyakondan canal that cuts across the city got a fillip with the district administration and Tiruchirapalli City Corporation joining the initiative on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, voluntary organisations have taken up a campaign to check pollution of the canal. The Uyyakondan Protection Committee, comprising civic and residents’ welfare organisations, had launched an awareness campaign recently, while volunteers of ‘Thaneer,’ had taken to clearing garbage in certain stretches of the canal.

In a significant intervention on Tuesday, District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan led a battery of officials from the Corporation, Public Works Department, and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to join a sensitisation drive of the Uyyakondan Protection Committee by distributing pamphlets to residents and traders along the canal in the Palakkarai area.

Insisting it was a people’s movement and not a “project,” Ms.Muralidharan said preventing dumping of garbage and sewage discharge into the canal would be the key focus areas. Retaining walls would be built along the river banks at places prone to dumping garbage. People would be given three months time to stop discharging sewerage into the canal and if they failed to comply, penal provisions of the law including disconnection of drinking water supply would be invoked.

“We want the campaign to move forward with voluntary compliance and cooperation of the residents and traders rather than invoking penal provisions,” she said.

Mr.Thandapani said the Corporation has identified 34 places where sewerage flowed into the canal and steps would be taken to plug the same.

The Corporation open drains were essentially meant to be storm water drains and residents should stop letting out sewerage into them. The civic body would give three months time to residents to stop the practice.

S.Sivakumar, Assistant Executive Engineer, PWD (River Conservation Division), observed that 1,000-year-old Uyyakondan canal, built by Raja Raja Cholan and renovated by Kulothunga Cholan, had an ayacut of 32,000 acres but many were under the impression that it was a drain. R.Lakshmi, District Environmental Engineer, said the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board would take steps to check discharge of industrial effluents into the canal.

M.Sekaran, one of the members of the Uyyakondan Protection Committee, said residents living along the canal too wished to maintain it clean and promoting awareness was key to the success of the campaign.

K.C.Neelamegam, coordinator, Uyyakondan Protection Committee, welcomed the district administration’s intervention to take forward the campaign.