A year-and-a-half after the death of Sarala (24), a schoolteacher who fell into an open stormwater drain on Usman Road in T. Nagar, her family is still to recover from the loss of their breadwinner.
Her parents have moved to Velinallur in Cheyyar of Tiruvannamalai district. Her father Munian, a retired bus conductor, has since suffered a stroke that has left him paralysed. Her mother Amsa works in the fields and her brother Sakthivel, who lives in the house that the family occupied in MGR Nagar in the city, is a construction worker.
Her family received Rs. 2 lakh as compensation after the incident but their request for a job was not heeded. “Sometime ago, I petitioned the Chief Minister’s cell for a job for my son but it did not work out,” Amsa said. The family moved to the city when Sarala was a year old. “She studied hard and was our hope. Now, everything is lost,” her mother said.
However, the authorities concerned seem to have learnt no lessons from Sarala’s death. In several stretches in West Mambalam, the road has been dug up for laying drains. There are no warning signs or barricades to warn pedestrians and motorists.
The area around the Buvaneshwari temple in Mettukuppam is another example. According to residents, work was last carried out here nearly 20 days ago. However, nearly a dozen pits remain open. On Friday, children returning from school hopped dangerously over open manholes on Lakshman Street and Amman Koil Street. At the junction of these streets, iron rods jut out. “We had asked the workers to cover the pits but they asked us to mind our business,” a resident said.
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