New canal along Kaliamman Koil Street to divert excess water to Cooum

After Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) applied the brakes on a flood-mitigation project on the southern side of the Cooum River near Koyambedu, the Chennai Corporation proposes to permit an alternative channel along Kaliamman Koil Street to solve the problem of flooding.

Officials of the Water Resources Department and Chennai Corporation visited the site on Saturday to identify an alternative alignment. Floodwater will be diverted to the Cooum from the Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam drain through Kaliamman Koil Street.

Two 2-metre-wide drains will be constructed along Kaliamman Koil Street using pre-cast technology. This will be completed in six months. Once the Corporation Council approves the proposal, works will begin in a month.

According to officials, one of the major challenges in building the drain along Kaliamman Koil Street is the presence of major water pipelines and traffic movement. If not carried out properly, the project will spell disaster for water supply, sewage lines and traffic movement in the area.

The State Government shelved the approved proposal for construction of a Rs. 33.8-crore channel along Jawaharlal Nehru Salai as the canal was feared to run close to the metro rail alignment at Koyambedu. The channel was part of a Rs.1447.91-crore flood mitigation project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

As the area near Koyambedu bus terminus along the southern part of Cooum River is one of the worst flood-prone areas in the city during the north-east monsoon, the Chennai Corporation and WRD officials have launched an intensified drive to find a solution for the problem before next monsoon.

Flooding on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, a crucial link between the southern and northern parts of Cooum River, has resulted in disruption of traffic during monsoon in the past. Several residential neighbourhoods, too, are inundated during the monsoon.

The Revenue Department is yet to complete a survey of encroachments along the canal for eviction to facilitate better drainage.

Even though CMRL stalled canal work on the southern side of Cooum River, it is likely to permit another Rs. 21.33-crore flood mitigation project on the northern side. This diversion channel will carry floodwater along Anna Nagar Third Avenue from K4 Police Station to K3 police station and will run over the underground metro rail tunnel in Anna Nagar.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012