Ambattur residents dread the prospect of yet another season of flooding, says T. Madhavan
The flooding in several parts of the city last year showed how unprepared the Chennai Corporation was for the monsoons.
This year the long-delayed storm water drain project has been completed in some areas, but it remains unclear how much relief it will bring the residents.
Past reports suggest that even in places where the full range of works including interconnects were completed, residents had to face flooding.
Yet again this year people fear the fury of floods especially in the Ambattur zone.
Poor storm water network, non-desilting of water canals may add to the woes of residents, who already suffer from poor infrastructure.
“The Chennai Corporation still has to do a lot before this monsoon. The monsoon preparedness is lacking in areas of Ambattur, Kallikuppam, Menambedu, Gnanamurthy Nagar, and Karukku,” says a resident of Vijayalakshmikpuram in Ambattur. The storm water drains are incapable of taking heavy influx of water, he adds.
“Monsoon preparedness not only involves construction of storm water drains. A concrete step to maintain the city’s waterways and existing water bodies is equally important,” says P. Pavithra of Mogappair West.
The storm water drains near Mogappair West has been covered with concrete slabs for 100 metres, but the remaining portion remain unattended for years together.
“The canal should have been de-silted by now. The Corporation and Water Resources Department should take immediate action to clean it,,” says P. Tamilselvan, Chennai Corporation councillor.
Similar apprehensions were expressed by residents of Ambattur zone. Varadharajapuram streets get flooded every year due to lack of drains. Says T. Gunaseelan, a resident: “Whenever there is rain, water from Chennai-Tiruvallur Road gets stagnated near GNG Colony First Street. It takes at least a week to dry up.” A big pit on the far end of the GNG Colony serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Residents are irked at the corporation’s knee jerk reaction every year just before the onset of monsoon. “Why can't the Water Resources Department clean up the drains, clogged outlets and desilt the waterways on regular basis and not wait for the monsoon to set in? Funds can be allocated in the budget and this will also help generate employment for the poor. People can be educated and discouraged from letting out waste into the rivers and waterways,” says S. Arokianathan of Menambedu.
Ambattur and Korattur lakes can serve as an aquifer for recharging the ground water if desilted. It will help address the water crisis in the area. Also, connecting the storm water drains to these two water bodies can help prevent flooding during monsoon. Unplugging of illegal sewage lines is a job Corporation officials should take up at the earliest, Mr. Arokianathan says.