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Delay in drainage project is a bother for Cuddalore residents

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Tough terrain: Pedestrians have a hard time crossing this stretch due to delay in execution of the project.
Tough terrain: Pedestrians have a hard time crossing this stretch due to delay in execution of the project.

A.V. Ragunathan

Launched with much fanfare in 2007, the project has hit a series of roadblocks

CUDDALORE: Work on the Rs.40.4-crore underground drainage project in the town is progressing at a snail’s pace in certain areas and is a non-starter in other places. The delay in its execution is causing great inconvenience to residents.

The open trenches dug in lanes and bylanes have become veritable traps for pedestrians and commuters, who often slip into the pits, sustaining injuries.

The problem is aggravated during the rainy season. Slush, rainwater-filled trenches and uncovered manholes pose a serious threat to road users. Certain streets are virtually blocked, with mounds of soil, sand and stones hampering free movement. Roads are in a bad shape, but the Cuddalore municipality has deferred the proposal to re-lay the potholed roads till the completion of the underground drainage project.

But with the project getting stuck due to lack of coordination among the contractors and prodding from the local body, there seems to be no immediate prospects of repairing the roads in the near future.

What the project envisages

The project, launched with fanfare on January 21, 2007, is slated to be completed by December 2008. It envisages laying of sewage pipeline for a distance of 148.70 km and construction of 5,392 manholes.

A treatment plant with a capacity to treat 141.30 lakh litres of sewage a day will also be set up at Thevanampattinam.

Regarding funding, the Tamil Nadu Urban Development Funds would put in Rs.10 crore, the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Rs.15.36 crore, and the local body and the people’ share would come up to Rs.15.04 crore.

The project hit the roadblock soon after it began, with certain councillors raising doubts in the municipal council over the size of the pipes used. It took months before the apprehensions of the authorities could be allayed. The civic body has neither come out with any valid reasons for the delay nor has given any assurance about meeting the deadline for the completion of the project.

The unexplained delay might even result in cost overruns.

Municipal Chairman Liaqath Ahmed Papa claimed that 50 per cent of the work had been completed. A meeting of engineers and contractors would be convened to expedite the work. He attributed the delay to the unseasonal rain.

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