In the first of a series on the state of infrastructure across the city’s suburbs, K. Manikandan finds that Pammal and Anakaputhur municipalities lack an underground drainage network

Residents of Pammal and Anakaputhur municipalities have now appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to help improve the quality of basic infrastructure in the suburbs.

Residents say the southern suburbs near Tambaram are among the numerous pockets in the city’s immediate suburbs that lack an underground drainage project and suffer from inadequate drinking water supply, among other woes.

At a meeting held on Sunday morning, members of the Federation of Residents Welfare Associations of Pammal and Anakaputhur presented a six-point charter. Foremost among the demands, was an appeal to speed up the process of sanctioning the underground drainage projects in the two municipalities.

At present, sewage generated from houses, shops and other commercial establishments as well as from industrial units move through the network of stormwater drains and find their way to vacant spots and public places. They also drain into water bodies in the localities, including the Thirupananthal and Moongil lakes, and the Adyar river.

Residents of the municipalities, numbering a little more than 73,000 in Pammal and around 50,000 in Anakaputhur as per the 2011 census, brave the mosquito menace and the foul smell emanating from water channels and stormwater drains outside their homes, speakers at the meeting said.

The huge water channels and stormwater drains running along Elumalai Street and Pammal Nallathambi Salai being choked with plastic and solid waste and filled to the brim with sewage were pointers to the problems, they said. The problems are exacerbated during the monsoon, when rain water contaminated with sewage enters houses, residents said.

Residents recalled that as early as in September 2006, the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board had invited national bids for preparing detailed project reports for comprehensive sewerage schemes in as many as 50 rural and urban local bodies in the Chennai metropolitan area of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.

But apart from Alandur (earlier a municipality and now merged with Chennai Corporation), where the sewer project has been completed, Pallavaram municipality, where a portion of the suburb has come under the project and Tambaram, where civil works are still on, no other local body in the city’s southern suburbs has an underground project in place.

In 2009, the ministry of urban development gave its consent for the same project in half-a-dozen town panchayats, including Peerkankaranai, Chitlapakkam, Sembakkam and Madambakkam around Tambaram, in addition to Pallikaranai and Perungudi (which are now merged with the Corporation) at a combined cost of Rs. 273 crore. However, they were shelved later. Last year too, residents were in for a disappointment as, in the department of municipal administration and water supply’s policy note for the financial year 2012-13, only Mamallapuram in Kancheepuram and Tirumazhisai in Tiruvallur were selected for the underground drainage project.

“Pammal and Anakaputhur municipalities are developing at a fast pace. Multi-storeyed buildings are coming up all over. The amount of sewage generated each year is increasing along with effluents from industrial units. We are concerned the ground water will become irreversibly spoilt. The only way out for urban local bodies is the underground drainage project and the State government should commence work on it soon,” said E. Arumugam, general secretary of the Federation.

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