Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: As part of its initiatives to restore and protect the Virugambakkam canal, the Exnora Innovators Club launched ‘Exnora Young Canal Warriors’ campaign on Sunday.

Children in the 10-16 age group went on a door-to-door campaign distributing pamphlets about pest control measures. They highlighted the need to avoid dumping of plastic waste and garbage into the canal to prevent flooding of localities nearby and health hazards.

K.S. Ananth, member, Exnora Virugambakkam Canal Monitoring Committee, said that a team of children would be carrying out the campaign in various parts of Saligramam, Vadapalani, Arumbakkam and Choolaimedu in the coming weeks.

Earlier, at a public discussion on protecting the waterbody, R.M. Palaniappan, Assistant Executive Engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD), said that Rs. 83 crore had been allotted for improving the canal under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, of which Rs.68 crore had been allotted to the department for carrying out macro development work in the canal.

As a first step, a survey was undertaken to identify various aspects affecting the canal, including letting out of sewage, encroachment and dumping of garbage. He said that an action plan to remove encroachments was ready and encroachments would be removed once the general elections got over.

On removal of the encroachments, the six-km-long canal would be 45 feet wide and 5 feet deep for free flow of rainwater. “As part of the macro development works, concrete wall on both sides of the canal would be constructed for the entire stretch of the canal. Already concrete wall have been constructed for two km,” he said.

Participating in the discussion, S. Punitha, president, Sayee Nagar Women’s Civic Exnora, spoke in detail about the history of the canal and reasons for the deterioration of the canal. She said that the canal, being a flood barrier for hundreds of residential colonies in the western parts of the city, had been abused by the dumping of plastic waste and garbage and the direct letting of sewage into the canal .

She wanted the waterbodies in the neighbourhood, particularly the Maduravoyal and Porur lakes, to be deepened so that pressure on the canal could be reduced.