Problems plague T. Nagar stretch; sewage overflow, garbage dumping are regular occurrences

Parts of Anandan Street, off North Usman Road in T. Nagar have been immersed in slush for several weeks now. Matters were made worse when, on Tuesday night, residents were kept awake by an electricity junction box that went up in flames.

S. Rajagopalan, an 82-year-old resident of the street said, “We heard a loud explosion and rushed out. The junction box was on fire.” Residents of a nearby apartment complex thought a car had gone up in flames. The street remained without power for much of Wednesday, as workers tried to replace damaged electrical cables amid the slush. Power supply was finally restored around 6 p.m.

Over a period of time, the L-shaped street has become a residential hub with at least five apartment complexes, a service apartment block and two hostels housing around 200 workers from a textile shop on Usman Road having come up. However, a host of problems plague this stretch.

Around five years ago, despite repeated protests from residents, a portion of the street was usurped by an influential politician to build a temple and a concrete road was laid in another portion.

In the past year, residents have appealed to various authorities several times to take action over the dumping of garbage on the street and asked for stormwater drains and sewage pits to be desilted. However, no action has been taken as yet.

Several homes are inundated with sewage overflow and residents wade through ankle-deep stinking, dirty water on a regular basis.

A watchman in one of the apartment complexes who has lived in the locality for decades said the stormwater drains were old and constructed of brick and cement. “The drains have given way over the years and need to be replaced,” he said.

Recently, residents also had to make do without drinking water for several months, as it was contaminated by sewage.

When S. Ramamurthy, secretary of the Anandan and Ramachandra Streets Civic Exnora, called Chennai Corporation’s 1913 helpline sometime ago, he received a text message alerting him that his complaint had been registered. “Within three hours I received another message thanking me for calling them and stating that my complaint had been attended to. I rushed out to see if indeed the job had been done but nothing had happened,” Mr. Ramamurthy said.

After this experience, the residents approached the Kodambakkam zonal office with their grievances. They received some respite when Metrowater officials offered to lay new pipelines. The work was completed on Tuesday, assuring the residents of clean drinking water.

However, the drains continue to cause problems. According to residents of a nearby slum, occasionally, workers remove some silt from the drains and leave it on the road. “We are now waiting for them to clear it,” said a plumber.

Mr. Rajagopalan said officials said they could not do anything about the drains, as manual scavenging was prohibited.

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