Fathima Nagar residents escape repeat ordeal, thanks to timely PWD efforts

Temporary restoration work under way at a drainage sluice along the Kudamuritti canal on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: M. SRINATH

Frantic and timely efforts by officials of the Public Works Department River Conservation Division to temporarily repair a drainage sluice along the Kudamuritti canal banks on Monday have effectively prevented the inundation of Fathima Nagar — one of the most vulnerable low-lying areas in the city — this time around.

Fathima Nagar and its surrounding areas beyond Vekkaliamman Temple near Woraiyur experienced flooding twice last month during this monsoon. And when news of Monday’s heavy rain of 27 cm in Manapparai reached here, residents of the colony fervently prayed that they be saved from the ordeal yet again.

The Ariyar was in spate due to heavy rain in Manapparai leading to a surge in flow in the Kudamuritti canal (which drains the waters of the Koraiyar and the Ariyar into the Cauvery) and inundation of some low-laying areas along Dindigul Highway, Vayalur Road and Kuzhumani Road in the city, but there was no inundation in Fathima Nagar, much to the relief of the residents.

Fathima Nagar and its surrounding areas have been frequently inundated over the years due to Kudamuritti waters heading up through a drainage sluice on the canal bank near Karalamman Temple. The sluice shutter was also said to have been in poor condition, which resulted in inundation of the colony about 10 days ago even though there was not much rain in the city.

On receipt of information of heavy rain in Manapparai and anticipated heavy discharge in Kudamuritti, officials of PWD RC Division got down to work at the sluice from Monday morning. The main problem, sources in the PWD said, was a conduit pipe that had been laid at a low level by the civic body years ago to let out the sewage flowing in the Kathirikai Vaical into the Kudumuritti river. Hence, whenever there is heavy flow in the canal, the waters headed up into the colony through the sluice.

Acting swiftly, the PWD officials replaced the old pipe with a new one of a bigger diameter at the ground level to prevent the canal water heading up into the colony. It would also ensure that it acted as a storm water drain for the locality. Rather than using casuarina poles, they reinforced the bund and sluice using GI pipes, mesh and sand bags. Over 7,000 sand bags were used on the stretch of about 30 meters where temporary restoration work was done. The work was completed in the early hours of Tuesday. A new shutter would be installed at the sluice after the water drained in the canal, PWD sources said.

“But for the work, our colony would have been inundated as the Kudamuritti was running full just as the previous occasions. Guess the PWD would take up permanent restoration work once the water drains in the Kudamuritti,” said Vishnu, a resident of Fathima Nagar.

The issue has also brought to fore the letting out of untreated sewage directly into the Kudamuritti canal from Kathirikai Vaical and the need to remove encroachments from water bodies. The Kathirikai Vaical, which was once an irrigation canal, has now turned into a massive open drain. About 30 to 40 cusecs of sewage is said to be continuously flowing into the Kudamuritti canal from the drain and ultimately flows into the Cauvery, polluting the river.

“The civic body just cannot let out the sewage directly into the Kudamuritti and needs to establish a sewage treatment plant. At the same time, the PWD also needs to desilt the Kudamuritti to increase its carrying capacity and prevent overflow,” observed an official.

“The PWD has carried out temporary repairs on the drainage sluice in a pucca manner; if they build a retaining wall at the stretch, it will be even better,” observed a representative of the Fathima Nagar Welfare Association, expressing a sense of relief.

He, however, felt that the authorities should ensure that the encroachments on the Kathirikai Vaical were removed as a permanent measure to prevent inundation of the locality. The open drain was as wide as 15 feet once running via Fathima Nagar and Thyagaraja Nagar but has now been shrunk in size drastically, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 2:48:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/fathima-nagar-residents-escape-repeat-ordeal-thanks-to-timely-pwd-efforts/article37887168.ece

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