Madurai

‘Annual desilting of Puckle Channel will prevent flooding in Thoothukudi’

Encroachments have continued to grow along the bund of Puckle Channel and, the 50-foot-wide channel has now become only 20 feet wide.   | Photo Credit: RAJESH N

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin who is to visit Thoothukudi on Thursday to take a look at the rain-related damages should give clear instructions and freedom to officials to remove within two months all encroachments made across the city in an unbiased manner as a complete drive against illegal structures has not been taken up over the past three decades, say residents.

They also prescribe that Puckle Channel that carries sewage into the sea should be desilted properly every year before the onset of northeast monsoon.

The serious problems being posed by illegal structures obstructing the free flow of rainwater into drainage channels were first felt in 2018 when Thoothukudi experienced unprecedented flooding. Subsequently, plans were drawn to store rainwater in one area by digging a pond while stormwater drains were built in several places. A decision was taken to remove all encroachments.

Though the Corporation started removing the encroachments in every zone on Wednesdays when Jayaseelan was its Commissioner, it was not done in proper manner and abandoned after he was transferred.

“Besides badly affecting the smooth movement of vehicles, the encroachments on almost every street of Thoothukudi cause flooding. Instead of finding a lasting solution, the water is pumped out for a few months and the issue is forgotten until the next flooding. So, the Chief Minister should set a deadline to remove all the encroachments in Thoothukudi,” says H. Eugene, a retired VOC Port Trust employee from Bryant Nagar.

Moreover, the residents say desilting of Puckle Channel that drains the liquid waste into the sea should be done ahead of every northeast monsoon from its origin near the Food Corporation of India’s godown at Third Mile to Terespuram. Besides constructing Srivaikundam check dam to store surplus water of the Tamirabharani for the benefit of the farmers, British Collector R.K. Puckle also dug the 50-foot-wide mega sewage channel 160 years ago.

When encroachers threatened to strangulate the sewage channel, late Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran relocated them to a new colony in the early 1980s, which is now known as Thalamuthu Nagar.

However, the encroachments continued to grow along the bund of Puckle Channel and Thoothukudi municipal administration ignored these illegally built structures when the urban civic body built concrete walls along the channel up to Terespuram. And, the 50-foot-wide channel became only 20 feet wide.

“Now, the Corporation is not even properly desilting the 7-km-long channel. Consequently, the city gets inundated for a few months every year. Encroachments are rampant in every street of Thoothuudi,” said A. Placid, an anaesthetist from Poobalarayarpuram.


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 3:24:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/annual-desilting-of-puckle-channel-will-prevent-flooding-in-thoothukudi/article37790539.ece

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