Residents say desilting of canal and culverts in Velachery is inadequate

The rains over the past few days that cheered the residents have also raised concern among people of some areas about flooding owing to poor desilting of the waterways.

Residents of Velachery and Adambakkam are anxious as they fear that their areas would be inundated if it rains heavily. Many of them complained that desilting of the canal and culverts in Velachery was inadequate.

A. Veerappan, a resident of Vijay Nagar in Velachery, said the Water Resources Department, a wing of Public Works Department, should have done better in terms of its monsoon preparedness work. Cleaning of the Velachery canal, which carries surplus water from the Velachery lake to the Pallikaranai marshland, was not up to the desired level, he added.

Silt in the two culverts that serve as link between the canal and marshland was not removed.

This has made several neighbouring residential localities vulnerable to flooding.

S. Kumararaja, secretary, Federation of Velachery Residents Welfare Association, complained that the WRD authorities took up the canal cleaning work only a few days before the onset of the north east monsoon. This was the case despite the well known problems faced by Velachery and neighbouring areas during the monsoon.

An official of Chennai Corporation said that various areas in west Velachery, including Kalki Nagar, AGS Colony, Nethaji Nagar, Saraswathi Nagar and MGR Nagar, would be flooded if steps are not taken immediately to clean the canal using heavy machineries.

The earth from the Veerangal Odai, where construction work of a canal is under way, is being dumped into the canal itself, blocking the water flow. The channel transports rainwater from various localities of south Chennai to the marshland.

Residents of Perambur, Vyasarpadi and Anna Nagar West also complained that parts of the Otteri Nullah canal have not been desilted properly. They fear that this would result in water logging in low level areas such as Ganesapuram.

An official of WRD said that they have begun cleaning the Velachery canal and the two culverts on the Inner Ring Road near Velachery MRTS station. “We are cleaning the canal on a regular basis. The huge amount of plastic waste nullified the process.”

Another official said fund allotment for maintenance work of waterways was delayed this year. However, dredging is being continued to prevent silting. Several stretches of the Otteri Nullah could not be cleaned as improvement work under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is being executed.