Life is hellish at Ellis Nagar

Sewage being pumped into a canal in Ellis Nagar. The sewage, collected in a well through underground drainage system, is allowed to stagnate along two canals.Photo: G.Moorthy

Sewage being pumped into a canal in Ellis Nagar. The sewage, collected in a well through underground drainage system, is allowed to stagnate along two canals.Photo: G.Moorthy  


Stench and garbage heaps serve as ‘landmarks'

It should qualify as a meticulously planned urban residential area. At a time when south Madurai was bursting at its seams, the government came out with the idea of developing the Ellis Nagar neighbourhood scheme in 1979. After over three decades, the houses have come. But the dream remains unfulfilled.

Stalked by two channels, the Kruthumal river on the one side and Avaniapuram on the other, this model residential colony is not a middle class man's dream. Any person going around the Tamil Nadu Housing Board Colony in Ellis Nagar witnesses a paradox. Neat, broad roads; well planned houses and apartments juxtaposed with stagnant sewage, heaps of garbage, huge unutilised vacant lands and what resembles a playground. A few hundred metres down the railway overbridge, the stench coming from your left announces that you are in Ellis Nagar. The best way to locate a house here is to follow the stench and the garbage heaps that serve as ‘landmarks.'

The Kruthumal is an ancient water body, which originally ran zig zag into Ellis Nagar, along with the Anuppanadi channel, which came later. While planning the scheme, the flow of the two water bodies was ‘straightened.' Residents say that whenever water flowed in the two carriers, life was pleasant and there was no threat from mosquitoes. But the practice of collecting sewage flowing in the underground drainage system and pumping it into the channels.

S. Ragavan, president, Joint Action Council, Ellis Nagar Housing Board Colony, an umbrella body of 25 residents' welfare associations, is much worried about the stagnant sewage and mounting garbage. He recalls that the TNHB, which created the colony in 1987, was letting the sewage into the open channels without treating it. The Madurai Corporation took over Ellis Nagar, along with a maintenance fund of Rs 86.69 lakh, in September 2005. The money, according to a letter issued by the TNHB, was for “inter-connecting sewage disposal system to the existing Corporation swage system.” But this never happened. The residents have been pleading with the authorities to connect the Ellis Nagar sewage system with the Madurai Corporation's system in nearby Mahaboobpalayam. Recently, they sent telegrams to the Chief Minister and the Collector highlighting their plight.

Today, the residents have their noses trained to the stench. But they are unable to combat the mosquito menace. All the devices to ward off the winged menace have failed. The problem, P. Malar, a resident of an MIG house, says has become acute due to frequent power cuts. Children and elders are under the constant threat of fever and skin allergies. Compounding the problem is the staggered garbage clearance by the civic body due to paucity of employees. Open spaces, meant for school, playground and park, are fertile breeding grounds for pigs. The haphazard growth of bushes in unutilised areas has marred the ambience. The playground, developed with Rs 10 lakh from the local area development fund offered by A. Deivanayagam, the then Madurai Central MLA, is now unfit for children to play.

Houses in Ellis Nagar have been bought in the 1980s mostly by government service in service then. There was an unforeseen legal battle over arriving at the cost of houses. These senior citizens, who had their savings to marry off their children, spent money on paying the escalated cost. The present unhygienic conditions drive them out of the area, says Mr. Ragavan. Proper utilisation of the vacant areas will remove most of the foul air pervading Ellis Nagar. Ensuring water flow in the two channels will not only put and end to mosquito menace but also result in considerable recharging of groundwater table.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Madurai
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:40:02 PM |

Next Story