Residents demand mass cleaning campaign by Corporation

Vacant plots with stagnant sewage or rain water and wild growth of vegetation are turning into a major health hazard in many of the newly added residential colonies in city.

While lack of civic amenities is a common and oft repeated plaint in many of these colonies that have mushroomed in the city in recent years, residents are also sore that the Corporation has been found wanting in carrying out regular maintenance works in most of these places.

Faced with a severe manpower crunch, especially sanitary workforce, the Corporation has been struggling to carry out regular sanitary works even in the developed parts of these colonies. Consequently, vacant plots and sites are often turned into garbage dumping grounds.

In the absence of proper drainage in most of these colonies, the vacant plots also turn into cesspools of sewage and rain water. Most these vacant plots are left for value appreciation by owners and the Corporation has been taking a lenient view towards these absentee landlords.

The problem is not only peculiar to newly added residential areas in the suburbs. Even in colonies close to the city, pockets of vacant lands pose a health hazard for other residents.

A classic case is the situation at Siva Nagar, where many a vacant site is used as garbage-dumping grounds. Some of them with stagnant sewage have turned into breeding grounds for pigs, mosquitoes and flies. “The situation is so bad that it has become a health hazard and has the potential to spread diseases. The stench emanating from the stagnant sewage has also become unbearable,” says S.Christalin Nelson, a resident.

The onset of monsoon aggravates the problem every year. Residents of the area complain that the recent rain and the flow of a sewage drain from Kalnayakan Street across the vacant plots and a common area earmarked for children's park have compounded the problem. The new Corporation Overhead Drinking Water Tank that is to supply drinking water to the Siva Nagar residents is surrounded with more than a feet of sewage water, says Mr.Nelson.

A few people concede that the problem is partly caused by some of the residents who conveniently use the vacant sites as garbage dumping grounds or to let out their sewage into them. The Corporation, they say, should make arrangements for the proper disposal of sewage.

Mr.Nelson says that land owners should be advised to maintain the vacant land properly so to prevent stagnation of sewage and the Corporation officials should monitor the same.

He also suggests that the Corporation could take up a mass cleaning drive similar to the one taken up at the Chief Minister's initiative in Chennai.

The Coimbatore Corporation too, he points out, has recently taken up a campaign to clean vacant lands. While Corporation sanitary workers were to be deployed to clean the vacant sites owned by the Corporation, owners of vacant plots were asked to clean up their sites by themselves.

If they failed to do so, the Corporation would clean the sites by deploying its workers and charge a fee. The same model could be adopted here too, he says.