The northeast monsoon is expected to arrive in two weeks. Considering that a vast majority of stormwater drains in seven zones have either not been restored or left incomplete, that is not good news.
In the seven zones within the city’s old limits, around 33 per cent of stormwater drain work remains unfinished. This work, which largely involves improving existing networks, began five years ago under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Due to persistent delays, some of which was attributed to other major infrastructure projects, a vast chunk of these pending projects face the possibility of being shelved.
While there are signs of intense activity on 130 stretches, the completion of the work before the monsoons seems unlikely, said Corporation sources. These include watersheds covering Cooum, Adyar and Buckingham canal. Work on these stretches was resumed in July.
Residents of various neighbourhoods have been complaining about the slow progress of the work. A. Noorjahan, councillor of ward 121, said that work on a stretch connecting Royapettah High Road and Balakrishna Road has been on for the last six months but is still far from complete. Chennai Corporation officials said the work would take at least another six weeks to conclude. As a result, flooding in many stretches across Mylapore can be expected this monsoon.
Noorjahan said a functional stormwater drain system on this stretch would facilitate the flow of rainwater from the Teynampet area to the Buckingham Canal. Damages to Metrowater and power supply lines during the course of the work had delayed the project, she said. Similar stories emerge from many other neighbourhoods. Work on stretches such as Mangesh Street in T. Nagar began only last week. The civic body is using prefabricated slabs to complete the work before the monsoon, but is facing delays due to inadequate planning and coordination in the shifting of utilities.