Barring a few parts, this neighbourhood seems capable of dealing with what used to be its number one problem: water-logging as a result of heavy rains. Liffy Thomas reports
In the past, Velachery would hit the headlines during the monsoon - for the wrong reasons. In those days, the area would lie submerged under sheets of water for weeks. With a good number of localities having been provided with storm water drain connections, the situation has improved considerably. Residents say water-logging is not as severe as before.
Many interior roads are a lot better today. For instance, P. Sekar, a cobbler at Tansi Nagar, says until a few years ago he would not be able to open his shop for at least 10 days following heavy rains. “Now, the water drains off well.”
The Corporation has also constructed a few recharge wells on Tansi Nagar 14th street, to collect rain water and prevent inundation.
According to S. Kumararaja, secretary of Federation of Velachery Residents Welfare Association (East), water logging has been checked in many areas through storm water drains. These drains are being constructed in 90 per cent of the roads. He says many resident welfare associations have been playing a pro-active role in getting the authorities to take up infrastructure work in their areas.
Regular desilting of the drains will make sure roads are not inundated. The surplus course of Velachery Lake extends up to Pallikaranai marshland. The course has been narrowed owing to encroachments. “The storm water drain is yet to be disilted in this 2.5 k-long stretch,” he adds.
Meanwhile, residents in ward number 178 and 179 still dread monsoon time. It may be recalled that during the floods in 2005, Ram Nagar, Muruga Nagar, Annai Indira Nagar, VGP Selva Nagar, Anna Nagar and Udyan Nagar, were among areas in Velachery where the Chennai Corporation operated boats to ferry residents for them to reach the main road.
Negotiating VGP Selva Nagar Extension and connecting roads is a challenge even a week after the rain. The stretches turn slushy.
“The constant movement of sewage trucks make the roads in this area unmotorable,” says A. Shakti, who works in a department shop. The area outside the shop has been filled with construction waste for people to walk on. This stretch is also used by hundreds of students of DAV School, Velachery.