Free flow of drains, channels continues to pollute Cauvery

Sewage flowing into the Cauvery through an open drain near Chinthamani in Tiruchi. Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam   | Photo Credit: R_M_RAJARATHINAM

Nearly three years after the implementation of the underground drainage scheme sanctioned under the National River Conservation Programme (NRCP) mainly aimed at preventing the pollution of the Cauvery, several open drains and drainage channels continue to flow into the river.

The sewage flow into the river goes on right through the year, defeating the very purpose of the sanction of the underground drainage scheme at a cost of over Rs.100 crore under the NRCP. Though the project sought to expand the underground sewer system across the city, several households and commercial establishments continue to discharge their sewage into open drains. Significantly, the Cauvery is also the source for several drinking water schemes, feeding the city and its suburbs.

A couple of major drains including the Kottai Vaical, under the maintenance of the Tiruchi Corporation, flows into the Cauvery River. The Kottai Vaical is one of the eight major drains in the city that account for a vital network of open drainage system in the city. They also serve as storm water drains for scores of residential colonies.

These apart, several minor drains flow into the river at various points around Chinthamani. These drains ultimately drain into the Cauvery without being treated. With the State government planning to execute a new scheme to extend the underground sewer system to all uncovered areas in the city, civic and environment activists feel that it is time that the Corporation made sure that open drains were not let out into the Cauvery.

The underground sewer system in the City currently has about 43,000 connections, but its capacity is yet to be fully utilised as many households in the thickly populated areas and slums in the old city limits are yet to be connected to the system. “It is vital to prevent the flow of sewage into the Cauvery. The sewage is washed away when there is heavy flow in the river, but when the river is dry the sewage soaks up into the river bed,” points out a former Public Works Department engineer.

“The Corporation should block the drainages flowing into the river and force residents/commercial establishments to opt for the underground system. No major drain maintained by the civic body should be let out into the river,” says Chandran, a resident of Mela Chinthamani.

Apart from the Cauvery, the Uyyakondan River has also been subject to heavy pollution owing to the discharge of open drains in Puthur, Palakkarai, Gandhi Market and Ariyamangalam areas.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 10:09:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/free-flow-of-drains-channels-continues-to-pollute-cauvery/article2218007.ece

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