Five natural drains run for over 35 km within urban limits
With another 15 days or a little more to go for the start of the South West Monsoon, there is an urgent need to rid the five natural drains that run through the city of encroachments.
Five natural drains –Sanganur, Ganapathy-Singanallur, Velankurichi, Kovilmedu and Karuparayan Kovil – run for a little over 35 km within the city limits.
The Sanganur Canal runs for 10.5 km. The Coimbatore Corporation's study says that canal carries 444 cubic metres of water a second (cumecs) at the entry point and exits carrying 541 cumecs. The minimum width of the canal is 32 feet and the maximum is a little over 200 ft.
The Ganapathy-Singanallur Canal runs for 16.7 km, has four branches, carries 27 cumecs at the entry point and at the exit it has 196 cumecs. The minimum width of the canal is 3.2 ft and the maximum is 25 ft.
The Velankurichi Canal has a length of 6.7 km in the city, carries 36 cumecs at the entry point and 203 at the exit. The minimum width is 3.60 feet and the maximum is 23.95 ft.
The Kovilmedu Canal runs for just 2.5 km, carries 23.9 cumecs at the entry point and 57.39 at the exit. The minimum and maximum width are 3.2 feet and 13 ft respectively.
The Karuparayan Kovil Canal runs for 2.2 km, has 160 and 168 cumecs at the entry and exit. The minimum width is 5.24 ft and the maximum nearly 22 ft.
Desilting the canals is imperative to prevent flooding because they carry the excess rain water to the water bodies that are in and around the city.
This year, more water is likely to flow onto the canals because the Coimbatore Corporation is constructing storm water drains, which will carry more water to the drains.
Corporation engineers say they have designed the drains' outlets are the five canals.
To clear the canals, construct a natural drain system and ensure absence of encroachments, the Corporation has proposed to construct embankments. It submitted to the State Government saying that it needed nearly Rs. 400 crore to concrete line 37.6 km.
In other words, the Corporation demanded over Rs. 10 crore to line a km of the canals.
The Government is understood to have told the Corporation to wait. The engineers say the Government reasoned that for the Corporation to take up the work it must first clear the canals of encroachments.
According to a Corporation study, there are over 7,000 structures along the five canals.
The engineers point out that unless the buildings are removed and families relocated, the concrete lining work will have no meaning.
Congress Councillor representing Ward 33 V.K.S.K. Senthilkumar says whatever temporary work the Corporation does to clear the canals will only add to the confusion because the economically weak along the banks use the silt to further encroach upon the natural drains.
It is nowhere else clearer than in Rathinapuri, Sivananda Colony and a couple of other places along the Sanganur Canal, he points out.
He and many other councillors want the Corporation to expedite the relocation of the encroachers under the Basic Services for Urban Project and restore the canals at the earliest.