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Sparks from trench dug for drain causes alarm

Residents of Kasturba Nagar are concerned over the delay in the execution of stormwater drain project 

August 17, 2022 10:16 pm | Updated August 18, 2022 08:23 am IST - CHENNAI

A tree collapsed on Kamaraj Avenue Second Street a few days after the Greater Chennai Corporation started work on the stormwater drain.

A tree collapsed on Kamaraj Avenue Second Street a few days after the Greater Chennai Corporation started work on the stormwater drain. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

When loud noise similar to that of fire crackers jolted Fourth Main Road of Kasturba Nagar in Adyar on Tuesday evening, many residents came out to check what was happening.

They were startled to see sparks from soil near the trench dug for stormwater drain construction by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). An earthmoving equipment had disturbed the underground electric cables while digging a trench for the construction of drain.

“The sparks and noise lasted more than half an hour before the personnel from Tangedco helped and brought the situation under control. Luckily no one got hurt,” said P. Sundaramoorthy, a resident.

Vikram Chandrasekar, another resident, said the Tuesday’s incident was the latest in a series of problems caused by the stormwater drain work going in the locality for weeks. He said the way the work was being carried out showed poor planning and execution.

Vikram, who reported Tuesday’s incident to senior officials through social media, said that while temporary fix had been provided whenever such incidents happened, the shortcomings in the way the project was being executed at large remained.

The work was in progress when The Hindu visited the spot on Wednesday. With open trenches on a majority of the streets, access to houses and shops has become difficult. Residents of many apartments were forced to park their vehicles elsewhere. Sewage water has stagnated in the trenches.

Importantly, in most of the open trenches with protruding iron rods, barricades had not been placed as mandated by the civic body. “It has been many weeks since the work began. It is unfair on people like us to carry out the work with so much delay,” said a shopkeeper on Kamaraj Avenue Second Street.

Mr. Sundaramoorthy said that commuting had become difficult for the residents on a street like Fourth Main Road “We have only one access through the Canal Bank Road. With nearly half of the road dug up and with the presence of earthmoving equipment, we find it difficult to take our vehicles out,” he said.

Tree falls

The GCC has tried to avoid felling of trees for the work. However, in their attempt to avoid felling, the contractors of the civic body dug up trenches close to many of the trees, leaving them in a precarious manner.

One such old tree on Kamaraj Avenue Second Street fell on Sunday. “Fortunately, no one was hurt,” the shopkeeper said. It has to be noted that a life was lost when a tree fell in a similar incident in K.K. Nagar in June. The civic body had denied that the tree fall in K.K. Nagar was due to stormwater drain work.

A GCC official said that Tuesday’s incident involving electric cables was a minor one and the situation was brought under control immediately. Acknowledging that the project work had caused some difficulties for the residents, the official said flood-mitigation the project will be completed soon. Steps were being taken to minimise the difficulties for the residents.

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