Madurai

Corporation tag of little relevance here

Tirupparankundram draws a good chunk of devotee traffic but lacks even basic civic infrastructure

Tirupparankundram, a municipality annexed to Madurai Corporation in 2011, continues to remain under the cloak of underdevelopment.

With poor drainage facility, erratic water supply and an inefficient garbage disposal system, it lags far behind the core city area in civic amenities. With no plan in sight to improve the civic infrastructure, residents here feel the civic infrastructure is disproportionate to the sizeable revenue the temple town generates from devotees and tourists. Monsoon brings with it clogged drains and stench. N. Manimaran, 45, a long-time resident, says sewage flows on to the streets from open drainage whenever it rains.

An official of the Government Hospital at Tirupparankundram says over 100 cases of dengue were reported last year. Residents say one of the reasons for the outbreak could be that stormwater drains here have become sewage carriers instead of flood carriers.

M. Thiagarajan, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) member and a resident, says when it was an municipality, there was a plan to construct an underground drainage system. “Once Tirupparankundram became a part of the Corporation, the plan has been put on cold storage. Waste water from here drains into Panakulam and Thenkal kanmois, thus making them extremely polluted. Untreated sewage also pollutes the groundwater through leaching,” he says.

Inundation is another major problem, particularly in Melapacheri.

Mr. Thiagarajan says though areas such as Tirunagar and Harveypatti get water under Vaigai Integrated Drinking Water Project, Tirupparankundram residents have been left to fend with Corporation water.

Water is pumped from borewells sunk near Thenkal kanmoi and transported in tanker lorries which fill an overhead tank on Pallar Mettu Street. From here, water is distributed through pipelines to houses in Tirupparankundram. “Instead of spending huge money in transporting water through lorries, the town can be covered under Vaigai Integrated Drinking Water Project,” he says. Moreover, the Corporation has not taken any measure to plug leakages in pipelines connected to the overhead tank,” Mr. Thiagarajan says.

Unused toilets

While riding through Tirupparankundram, one can notice recently constructed toilets around the granite hillock that defines the area. A closer look reveals they are all locked, standing as testimony to sheer drain of State coffers. S. Elamurugan, a long-time resident, says absence of free-to-use and well-maintained toilets is the prime reason for the prevalence of open defecation. Though the municipality was merged with Madurai Corporation in 2011, there has been little improvement on this front, he says.

Open defecation is more prevalent near Saravana Poigai, the Subramaniyaswamy Temple’s tank. Two toilet complexes, one constructed by Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department and the other by Madurai Corporation, remain closed. The open space near the temple tank is used for defecation.

An official from the Health department says the toilets remain locked because of lack of water. ‘Smart toilets,’ which were inaugurated in 2017, continue to be under lock and key. No steps have been taken to open them.

“For generations, people here used fields to relieve themselves in the open. To bring about a change, the Corporation must first educate the public and provide hygienic and free toilets for use. How else will people change,” Mr. Elamurugan asks.

Garbage disposal

Residents here are unaware of segregating garbage. This system does not exist here at all, says Mr. Manimaran. “Although we are aware of source segregation, the garbage collectors never insist on collecting segregated waste. They just collect it in bulk and throw it in the tricycle without segregating,” he says. However, Corporation Commissioner S. Visakan and officials of the Health department maintain that only non-biodegradable waste is being collected across Madurai on Wednesdays.

Solutions

Without separate plans for infrastructure development to deal with problems specific to Tirupparankundram, residents have no choice but to wait for the ₹1,120-crore Mullaperiyar drinking water project to ensure that the ₹600-crore underground drainage system is built as a consequence, says a Corporation official.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:19:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/corporation-tag-of-little-relevance-here/article27153566.ece

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