Residents of the added areas of Chennai Corporation must brace themselves for yet another monsoon of wading through knee-deep water.
For a city with a stormwater drain network that is still in bits and pieces, this year too, one can expect the northeast monsoon to throw normal life and traffic out of gear. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the Chennai Corporation has so far completed around 55 per cent of work on improving the drainage network, which means not all areas have been covered — they have to wait till June 2014. In many of the areas that were added to the civic body last year, road work has been given priority.
Though the civic body mapped locations in the city prone to waterlogging and has been concentrating on avoiding flooding, with only 55 per cent work completed, residents fear the stormwater drains would not be of much use as they have to be connected to bigger drains so that the water is allowed to flow into the nearest waterway. The vents too are small and if the drains are not provided with adequate sloping, they won’t be of much use. Though efforts were taken to desilt the existing stormwater drains or 16 canals, residents in many areas complain that the work is yet to be completed.
Officials said that drainage in flood-prone areas like Ganesapuram subway, Valluvarkottam High Road, Koyambedu junction and Olympia Tech Park junction at Kathipara has been taken care of. The last two places are on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai and the highways department says Chennai Metro Rail will take care of constructing drains there. The Tech Park junction is a low-lying area and when big vehicles pass by, they create waves throwing smaller vehicles off balance. Now, according to sources, the problem arises because the side of the culvert through which the water empties out is partially blocked by a Metrowater pipeline.
At Koyambedu, a simple solution is available. The stagnant rainwater needs to be channelised into the Cooum that runs along Poonamallee High Road, but no civic agency seems to have thought of it. All that needs to be done is lay a drain through Thiruveedhi Amman Koil Street that runs from Jawaharlal Nehru Salai to Poonamallee High Road. Already an arch drain carries treated sewage from the sewage treatment plant at Koyambedu through this route.
With time having run out and the monsoon looming large, Chennaiites can only cross their fingers and wait for the monsoon.