Concern about risk to children, especially during rains

Lack of progress in completing work on stormwater drains in many areas around schools in the city and suburbs is keeping parents and school authorities on tenterhooks.

Autorickshaw and van drivers, parents using two- and four-wheelers and children precariously negotiate Nowroji Road stretch, Chetpet, where Union Christian Matriculation Higher Secondary School in located as the incomplete stormwater drain has taken a good portion of the road.

It is chaos at the residential area in the mornings and after the final bell rings at 3 p.m. Iron bars that are projecting out of the incomplete stormwater drain work and mounds of loose soil make this stretch dangerous. Only a small section of the stormwater drain is covered. School authorities say it was in February that the stormwater drain was dug and since then residents and those coming to schools in the locality have been facing trouble. The stretch is worse in the mornings and also when it rains. Attendants from the school guide the children in the mornings.

Parallel to the Nowroji road is Maharishi Vidya Mandir putting up with the similar problem. Along Dr. Guruswamy Road, roads have been dug almost from the start of the street, but work has only been done in parts. The autorickshaw drivers at the stand outside the school have covered a small portion of the drain with debris. Some autorickshaw drivers said a few months ago a dog died after falling into the open drain. School authorities, however, ensure that all vehicles are parked inside the campus and security staff patrols the area outside the school.

Schools seem to have made an attempt to get the issue fixed. “After I made a representation to the Chennai Corporation, a concrete slab was placed in the area, after the school reopened. But a major portion of the work is still incomplete,” said Anna Eapen, principal of Union Christian Matriculation Higher Secondary School.

T.R. Govindan, councillor of Ward number 72, said that the work could not be completed as the Corporation has not disbursed money to the contractor.

Mayor M. Subramanian told The Hindu on Friday that money is released by the Corporation depending on the work the contractor has completed.

“In the first week of July, we had a meeting with all contractors undertaking stormwater drain work. We have asked them to speed up the work before the monsoon begins. We would again be meeting them. We will ensure work is completed fast near the school zones. We will conduct an inspection too,” he assured.

Parents of children studying in Prince Matriculation Higher Secondary School and a State government school near Kannagi Street, Madipakkam, have also been bearing the brunt of dug up roads. “On June 15, the road was dug which I presume is for work on the drainage network, but work doesn't seem to be happening,” says S. Prasanna, a parent of the school. The entire stretch is filled with slush he says. “During the recent rains, about a few children slipped and got hurt.”

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