Traffic on Konnur High Road was disrupted for nearly half an hour on Tuesday morning as residents of Otteri staged a road roko, protesting contamination of drinking water.

Residents of several parts of Otteri gathered on the roads to draw attention to the long-standing issue of sewage mixing with drinking water in their areas. People from several localities, including Sathyavani Muthu Nagar, SS Puram, Subbarayan Street, Nammalvarpet and Swami Bathan Street, complained they were receiving the contaminated drinking water for the past one month.

M. Kumari, a resident of Otteri, said many residents like her depended on water supplied by Chennai Metrowater. The residents draw water from the hand pumps in the area. Of late, according to residents, the water supply had also become erratic. “We have to get to the pumps early in the morning to get sufficient quantity of water. That too is murky and emanates foul smell. The quality of the water pumped during the day is worse,” she said.

Many of the residents have been forced to buy packaged drinking water. However, they continue to use the pots of water collected from the hand pumps for bathing and washing.

Residents also gheraoed Metrowater’s depot office at Subbarayan Street in Otteri. They dispersed after Thiru.Vi.Ka.Nagar MLA V. Neelakantan and Metrowater officials assured them steps would be taken to arrest the contamination. Water was also supplied through tanker lorries to the area.

Residents of some other areas in Ayanavaram along Konnur High Road and Vyasarpadi also complained of similar problems. K. Prem of Magazinepuram, Vyasarpadi, said water drawn through hand pumps was contaminated with sewage and murky. “We are already getting drinking water on alternate days. Sewage mixing with the drinking water has added to the problem,” he said.

Sources with Metrowater said such incidents could occur in areas that have corroded, old drinking water pipelines and sewer lines laid near each other for want of space.

“We are identifying such problems and suspending water supply to prevent further contamination,” a source said.

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