Oil from sewage lines under Sardar Patel Road has seeped onto the surface

Motorcyclists speeding down one of the city’s most important roads are being exposed to grave risks due to a peculiar problem the government has ignored for some months now. Edible oil and food waste generated from the centralised kitchen of a restaurant finds its way into the sewage lines of the city’s underground drainage network directly on Sardar Patel Road. The huge quantity of the oil that floats inside the drains seeps out and stagnates on the road, making it slippery. Motorcyclists, according to people who frequent the stretch, often slip and fall while negotiating the spot.

“This has been a problem for many months. Government authorities seem unable to find a permanent solution and staff resort to temporary measures like pumping out the waste from the drains or spray sand over the oil,” said K. Chandrashekar, a real estate consultant.

Shop owners on the stretch told The Hindu that many motorcyclists after turning left into S.P. Road from Rajiv Gandhi Salai at Madhya Kailash intersection lose control and fall. IIT-Madras, CLRI, Anna University and the Guindy campus of the University of Madras are all in the vicinity.

Despite being a high-risk zone, neither the traffic police nor Chennai Corporation and Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board have acted so far, traders said, appealing to the agencies to step in immediately before it is too late.

Residents said similar problems prevailed on Santhome Road and other important stretches as well.

Metrowater officials said it was mandatory for restaurants, kitchens and other commercial establishments to install a diaphragm chamber for filtering liquid waste including oil. While only the filtered waste water could be let into the sewer lines, the remaining sludge had to be disposed properly. Stating that they would conduct an immediate inspection at the spot, officials also cautioned commercial establishments from indulging in such brazen violations, warning them of penal action.