Yet another water body in the city is shrinking as Mambalam Canal has been filled with debris for a road facilitating the JNNURM-funded stormwater drain work in the city.

Residents have expressed concern over the work as the onset of northeast monsoon looms large.

However, Chennai Corporation officials said the road constructed in the canal is temporary. The debris would be removed as soon as the work is completed, said an official of the Corporation. But the deadline for completion of the work has not been conveyed to residents or councillors yet.

“The road has been constructed to facilitate movement of vehicles for the construction work. The contractor has assured that he would remove the road after the work is completed. We do not know if the work will be completed before the monsoon. The canal was more than 70 feet but has shrunk to 40 feet in many areas because of encroachments,” said R.C. Arumugam, councillor of ward 141.

“Many residents have encroached upon the canal and we do not want to disturb them. The government may take a decision on removing encroachments on the canal later,” said Mr. Arumugam.

The civic body has installed temporary pipelines beneath the road to carry stormwater during the monsoon. However, engineers said such temporary facilities may not be sufficient in case of heavy showers this year.

The civic body, citing reasons such as the monsoon, sand scarcity, traffic restrictions by police and hindrance caused by shifting of utilities, had extended the deadline for the JNNURM-funded stormwater drain work a number of times.

The Corporation had terminated some contracts on many stretches a few months ago. Some of them were revoked and work has gained momentum.

These include watersheds like Cooum, Adyar and Central Buckingham Canal. The stormwater drain is expected to be completed in March. Mambalam Canal is among those managed by the Corporation.

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