CHENNAI: Residents of Virugambakkam, Arumbakkam, Vadapalani, Saligramam and Choolaimedu have formed a canal monitoring committee to supervise the work of the improving the Virugambakkam Canal.
For several years, the canals flowing along these residential areas have been the focus as they were used to dump garbage and sewage. On Sunday, children of the localities handed over a memorandum to the Public Works Department Secretary S. Audiseshiah at a meeting attended by Chennai Corporation councillors from the affected areas and a Nerkundram Panchayat Board representative.
The panchayat has received funds for building a sewage system but unless it is upgraded to a town panchayat, the sewage system laying work cannot be taken up, according to panchayat officials.
The lack of sewage system has also affected the flow of water in the Virugambakkam Canal that transformed from being an agricultural channel into a sewage carrier as settlements replaced agricultural lands.
Mr. Audiseshiah explained that Rs.800 crore would be given to the Chennai Corporation to set right the smaller canals. The government had allocated about Rs.80 crore for improvement of the Virugambakkam Canal alone, he said.
If improvements should benefit the residents then their participation was necessary, he said. Residents could support the removal of encroachments, as work in this direction was slow.
He suggested that the residents could hold workshops that could include retired Chennai Corporation and PWD engineers and long-time residents who could provide inputs to the department to enable it to do a good job.
“It is an opportunity we have now to clean, strengthen and build check dams where necessary. We have estimated the cost for the work. You people must form a committee to monitor the progress of work and to protest if there are mistakes,” he said.