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Updated: September 13, 2013 11:23 IST

Uyyakondan turning into a teak corridor

S. Ganesan
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Collector Jayashree Muralidharan inaugurating a massive tree plantation drive on the riverbanks of the Uyyakondan in Tiruchi on Thursday. Photo:M. Moorthy
Collector Jayashree Muralidharan inaugurating a massive tree plantation drive on the riverbanks of the Uyyakondan in Tiruchi on Thursday. Photo:M. Moorthy

Resident organisations demand green corridor on the Puthur Weir and Thirunedungulam stretch

The Forest Department will plant 5,000 more teak saplings along the banks of the Uyyakondan, extending the plantation already raised along the river in certain city stretches.

The greening drive is being executed in consultation with the Public Works Department, which maintains the Uyyakondan River.

The Forest Department has been raising teak plantations on certain stretches of the riverbank at Puthur and Ariyamangalam since 2010-11. In the latest initiative, teak saplings will be planted on the riverbanks between Tiruverumbur and Ezhil Nagar. On Thursday, Collector Jayashree Muralidharan inaugurated the exercise by planting a teak sapling on the riverbank. Later, in a press release, Ms.Muralidharan said four lakh tree saplings would be planted across the district this year. Of this, 40,000 saplings will be planted along the banks of Uyyakondan River and other canals. Sources in the PWD said the maximum area would be covered along the Uyyakondan river in the city. Civic activists have long been crying hoarse over the pollution caused by the sewage flowing into the river on its city stretch, especially between Puthur and Ariyamangalam.

Welcoming the extension of the green cover along the river, N.Ramakrishnan, convenor, Tiruchirapalli Federation of Welfare Organisations, suggested that the entire stretch of the river bank in the city be handed over to the Forest Department to be developed as a model project. At a recent meeting, the organisation had appealed to the Chief Minister to sanction the development of a green corridor along the winding river between the Puthur Weir and Thirunedungulam.

The river, which originates from the Cauvery river, cuts across Tiruchi and takes a blackish hue on the city stretch. Over 60 per cent of the river’s course that traverses about 69 km between Pettavaithalai and Vazhavanthankottai tank was being subjected to heavy urban pollution. The river has an ayacut area of over 30,000 acres and feeds 36 tanks. The river is polluted heavily by sewage and effluent discharge from households, commercial establishments and industries. Scores of open drains flow into the river in the city stretch and the City Corporation has so far turned a blind eye to the problem.

Major open drains flow into the river in about a dozen places between Cantonment and Ariyamangalam, apart from innumerable small drains. These include the flow from open drains in the Central Bus Stand and Railway Junction area, through a drain that runs into the river near the Iyyappan Temple at Cantonment. Drains from the K.A.P.Viswanatham Government Medical College area flow into the river on the other side.

Conduit pipes can be seen conveying sewage from individual households and hospitals between Cantonment and Palakkarai. A large number of households in these thickly populated areas are not connected to the underground drainage system. Farmers had been alleging that effluents from industries quietly flow into the river downstream. The sewage flow makes the river a fertile bed for weeds. The squalor and the stench, emanating from streams of drains, not only make for an eyesore, but a health hazard too. “It is imperative that the sewage flow and pollution caused to the river is stopped forthwith. The corporation should wake up to the problem,” said Mr.Ramakrishnan.

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