Work will cover only specific stretches of major drains

The Tiruchirapalli City Corporation has begun its annual pre-monsoon exercise of removing silt from select stretches of major drains which effectively serve as storm-water drains.

The work that began on Monday will cover specific stretches of major drains in all the four zones of K. Abishekapuram, Ariyamangalam, Golden Rock, and Srirangam. Among the important drains that are to be cleared are the Kathirikai Vaical, the Kottai Vaical, the Tharanallur-Devadhanam Irattai Vaical, and the Jail Corner-Ponmalaipatti drain.

The work will be carried out using machinery wherever possible and manually on stretches where heavy machines could not reach.

The civic body has earmarked Rs. 20 lakh for the purpose in its Budget 2013-14. The work is expected to go on for a month.

Although the corporation takes up such programmes every year ahead of the monsoon spending substantial sums, the efficacy of the operation raises questions. For, the drive does not cover the entire length of the network of drains running into hundreds of kilometres across the city. Indiscriminate dumping of garbage and fast growth of weeds clog the drains within few days.

District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan, who inspected the work in some of the flood prone areas in the city along with Mr. Thandapani and Public Works Department officials on Wednesday, suggested the construction of barricades along certain stretches of the drains to prevent dumping of waste.

A civic engineer concedes that the exercise taken up on piecemeal basis does not serve the purpose and converting the drains into cement concrete drains would help to some extent.

While several channels criss-cross the city, eight of them are major ones that serve as a network of storm-water drains. All of them had been irrigation canals in the past and four of them – the Virupachipuram, Vannarapettai, Thennur Irattai, and Kottai Vaicals – were handed over to the corporation for maintenance by the Public Works Department some years ago as they did not have any ayacut area. Apart from these, the Kathan, Thotti, Devadhanam and Tharanallur vaicals serve as major drains in a city that woefully lacks a proper network of storm-water drains.

The corporation has been unsuccessfully trying to get funds from Union and State governments for building storm-water drains in the city and revamping the existing network.

Even recently, proposals were drawn up in anticipation of the city being included under the phase II of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

In recent days, a private consultant appointed by the State government has taken up a study on creating a network of storm-water drains for the city, which includes renovating the canals that serve as flood water carriers.

Once a detailed project report is ready, the source of funding will be decided, Mr. Thandapani said.