Pipelines transporting water were damaged during cable laying last month

Telecom major Reliance Infocomm, which was responsible for the damage of pipelines transporting water from the dry bed of Palar river while laying telephone cables last month, is yet to pay a fine for the damage. This was revealed in a reply to a query under Right to Information Act.

An enormous amount of water from the sub-terraneal Palar river was wasted, resulting in a severe scarcity of water in Pallavaram and Chitlapakkam. Residents initially received contaminated water but stopped getting any at all by the end of last month and early this month. The company was supposed to pay Rs. 21 lakh

Workers hired by Reliance Infocomm had used mechanised road cutters on Tambaram – Mannivakkam – Wallajahbad Road for laying cables for telephone and internet connectivity at the industrial hub of Oragadam. The road cutters ripped off the upper layer of the two-feet-wide asbestos cement pipelines at 13 spots on the road, including Serappananchery, Vanjuvanchery and Padappai. This resulted in a huge volume of water going waste until the main controls in the headworks on the Palar river around Pazhayaseevaram village near Wallajahbad were turned off. Though engineers of Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board attended to the problem and plugged the leaks besides replacing the pipelines, residents of Pallavaram municipality and Chitlapakkam Town Panchayat suffered immensely.

Engineers arranged water from Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board and also from local sources, including open wells. Once the problem was set right, the Kancheepuram district administration and the district unit of TWAD Board imposed a fine Rs. 21 lakh on Reliance Infocomm.

However, the telecom major is yet to pay the amount, said TWAD Board officials, replying to an RTI query posed by V. Santhanam of People’s Awareness Centre, Chromepet. On Wednesday evening, Board officials re-iterated they were yet to receive the amount from Reliance. Mails to the corporate office of Reliance Infocomm did not elicit a reply.

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