A look at the cut-and-cover drain projects at Chitlapakkam in Chennai

Flood mitigation works to begin in Chitlapakkam

The floods in 2015 as well as cyclone Vardah in 2016 exposed chinks in the floodwater drainage systems in Chitlapakkam. And then in 2017, when the north-east monsoon was light and patchy, the locality was flooded again.

Against this backdrop, the State government has allocated ₹12 crore towards construction of a cut-and-cover drain with single vent from Chitlapakkam lake to Sembakkam lake and desilting of Chitlapakkam Thangal.

This sanctioned amount is part of the ₹96.2 the State government has allocated for the first phase of flood mitigation works in Kancheepuram and Triruvallur districts and Greater Chennai Corporation.

“Residential areas in the southern section of Chitlapakkam were marooned during the 2015 floods and Cyclone Vardah in 2016. Every year when the northeast monsoon begins, these areas get heavily inundated damaging properties and are cut off. Water rises up to 5 feet putting our lives at risk,” says P. Viswanathan, coordinator of Chitlapakkam Residents Welfare Association.

Post the back-to-back disasters, members of residents’ welfare associations in Chitlapakkam got together and conducted a study which found that the rainwater flowed from Selaiyur, Chitlapakkam and Sembakkam lakes into the residential areas as the channels connecting these water bodies had disappeared.

“Encroachments and dumping of garbage had blocked these water channels. The stormwater drains that should carry rainwater to Chitlapakkam and Sembakkam lakes are now used to discharge sewage,” he says.

The residents, in 2015, had submitted a representation to the State government to implement a cut and cover scheme for Chitlappakam.

In 2017, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami visited the heavily-inundated areas and assured the residents that new stormwater drain would be constructed to divert surplus water from Selaiyur and Chitlapakkam lakes and prevent flooding in the region.

Now that the government has officially sanctioned funds for the project, the residents want the works to be started immediately before the onset of the northeast monsoon.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 10:58:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/flood-mitigation-works-to-begin-in-chitlapakkam/article24968234.ece

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