Residents want storm water drains to be expanded and MGR canal desilted.
While the city eagerly awaits rain to end the hot and dry spell, the residents of R.K. Shanmugam Road in K.K. Nagar seem to prefer the hot sun. The reason is that their area for a decade has been flood prone during Monsoon. Even a light shower can hinder the movement of vehicles as the road gets inundated and the rain water and takes at least two days to recede. Though a storm water drain was constructed years ago, it is too narrow to carry huge volumes of water.
Time and again residents have demanded that the storm water drain (SWD) be expanded from the existing width of 900 x 900. While considering the suggestion, the Corporation decided to widen the drain to a width of 1200 x 1200 (figure available on the Corporation website). After repeated visits to the Corporation office, work seems to have finally begun, but residents are not happy.
When K. Selvaraj, secretary, Exnora Innovators’ Club, K.K. Nagar, met Rajasekar, Superintendent Engineer, Social Welfare Department of SWD two months ago, he was assured that work on R.K. Shanmugam Road would be taken up on priority basis. But, Mr. Selvaraj said that instead of widening the drain, as promised, the contractor informed him that they were only removing the roof of the drain and replacing it with a prefabricated cement top.
“The work undertaken seems merely an eyewash and is a waste of tax payers’ money. The expansion work is not going on as ordered. While an estimated budget of Rs. 1.13 crores has been earmarked for the project, the money is not being spent for the set purpose. Moreover, if the drains are not cleaned and desilted, it will serve no purpose.”
While the problem of a narrow drain persists, the residents say that the Metro Water department has only added to their woes by filling a natural pond in the double tank area with sand.
“A third tank has been built above the place where there was a pond earlier, which served as a natural outlet for excessive rain water from Rajamannar Salai to the MGR canal. We have asked the Corporation to construct a storm water drain under the tank to ease the problem,” said Selvaraj.
All drains running through K.K. Nagar are connected to MGR canal. The canal, like others in the city, was supposed to be a fresh-water source but has become an open drain. Some residential apartments discharge their sewage into the canal as builders have not provided a proper drainage channel. The Metro Water has asked the residents to pay arrears along with penalty in order to get a new connection, but thet are not willing to oblige.
There is also the problem of encroachment near the canal. “Eight to 10 houses have been built right on the canal. Earlier, an embankment of around 12 feet had been left for de-silting purposes. Today, the land has disappeared,” he added.
The drains, which run via Ramaswamy Salai and Lakshman Salai, are not directly connected to the canal. Also, in some places the link in drain connection is missing.
With the inflow of rain water in the area being higher than the outflow, residents want expansion work on the drain to be completed before Monsoon sets in.
“The problem is so acute that people have been selling their property or giving it away to builders. Every year during Monsoon we have to shift to the first floor as water enters our house. Many vacate and go elsewhere for few days,” say residents of R.K. Shanmugam Road.
The Exnora members are planning to meet the authorities again to highlight the issue. They want expansion work and de-silting of the canal to take place simultaneously.