Many areas of Velachery may get inundated this monsoon too. The Water Resources Department, which was to complete construction of a 4.1-km-long canal from Velachery lake to south Buckingham Canal, has taken over a year to lay just 1.1 km of the canal. The Rs. 58.15 crore waterway was proposed to prevent flooding in Vijaya Nagar and other areas.
The project, under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, to drain excess water from the lake into Buckingham Canal was proposed to be completed by December this year. However, the project may not meet its deadline as the time-consuming in-situ construction of box-like structure is being undertaken.
V. Manikantan of VGP Selva Nagar said several areas in Velachery remained under sheets of water every monsoon. “The work on widening the Taramani Link Road has been going on for four years now. The Highways Department has not been able to complete the work as the WRD has taken up this canal work,” he said.
An urban planner said WRD must emulate Chennai Corporation in using pre-cast technology to construct stormwater drains. “Despite the additional expenditure, the civic body has opted for pre-cast drains. The WRD should follow suit for speedy completion of the project,” he said.
The existing surplus course of Velachery Lake now extends up to Pallikaranai marshland. Though its original capacity is 600 cubic feet per second, the course has been narrowed owing to encroachments.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Road Development Company, which maintains Rajiv Gandhi Salai, complained that portions of the footpath and service lane near SRP Tools were damaged as canal work was carried out without using trenchless technology.
Sources at WRD said there was not sufficient earth cushion, which is the gap between the road and the workspace beneath ground level, on the stretch where the canal crossed Rajiv Gandhi Salai to reach Buckingham canal. An earth cushion of at least a metre is needed to use trenchless technology. Near SRP Tools, only 50 cm of earth cushion is available, an official said.
“We could not avoid cutting the road owing to this problem. We will ensure that the portion is re-laid. We have already spent Rs. 17 crore for shifting lines to other government agencies,” the official said.