Desilting of stretch running along MRTS line commenced this week

Soon, MRTS commuters will have a view of a cleaner Central Buckingham Canal.

After a decade, the stretch of the canal running along the MRTS line is witnessing a major desilting exercise. Earlier this week, the Water Resources Department (WRD) of the PWD began desilting a few portions of the 7.1-km-long stretch at a cost of Rs. 20 crore.

The waterway between Chepauk and Greenways Road railway stations has remained a difficult portion to improve due to encroachments. Once in a year, the WRD removes floating garbage from the canal to ensure free flow before the onset of the northeast monsoon. With many of the city’s major waterways getting a facelift, the WRD has initiated the work in portions of the canal that do not suffer from encroachments.

“A biometric survey of the 5,100 families living along the canal is in progress before relocation can be taken up. Only 1,000 families have been covered so far,” a WRD official said.

Instead of waiting till the encroachments are removed, the WRD has now decided to desilt the canal and also construct a flood protection wall for a distance of 1.1 km near Swami Sivananda Salai, Wallajah Road and Greenways Road.

The Rs. 20.47-crore project will be taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

At present, the canal has shrunk in some portions. “We want to widen the canal by a minimum of 15 metres. Some of the stretches identified are near Greenways Road railway station and near Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai,” said the official.

Originally, the canal had a capacity to carry up to 5,600 cubic feet per second (cusecs). “Now, it can carry only 600 cusecs during rains. We want to improve the capacity to at least 1,000 cusecs,” the official added.

Two bridges on Kutchery Road and near Ice House will also be widened as part of the work. Constructing a flood protection wall would be a challenge as a pile foundation would have to be laid two metres below the canal bed, an official said. However, the department is planning to complete the work by October.