The true face of the Nungambakkam Canal 

On Greams Road, where it flows into the Cooum, this micro canal cuts the sorry picture of an unwilling sewage carrier and a huge open bin for garbage

September 24, 2022 10:01 pm | Updated 10:02 pm IST

On Greams Road, the Nungambakkam Canal completes its run, and there, it is expected to disgorge its contents — storm water — into the Couum. Strictly going by that logic, it should have more days off than those on duty. It should be in harness only during the monsoons, primarily the north-east monsoon. Howvever, at Greams Road, the Canal cuts the sorry picture of being worked to a frazzle as a reluctant carrier of sewage, all through the year. Sewage gugles out of the Canal, rushing towards the Couum, along a path made narrow by unchecked vegetation and floating solid waste.

The garbage being flung into the Canal from one side is immense and continual that it seems clogged in one “nostril”. The Canal has two openings crowned by arched spans. On the evening of September 23 and the morning of September 24, one of the openings seemed to have travelled close to being entirely stuffed with garbage.

A regular around the place remarked the Canal was only wearing its regular look. For people living and working in its vicinity, its presence is felt by the swarms of mosquitoes buzzing around them every evening.

During the revisit on the morning of September 24, there was a noticeable change to the colour and character of the garbage on the upper layer of the pile-up close to the Canal, suggesting overnight offloading.

Maintained by the Greater Chennai Corporation, the Nungambakkam Canal is a micro canal that is both underground and open-to-sky. It makes a vital piece in puzzling out stormwater management in the area. As a sewage carrier, it however follows a script that is not quite aligned with this mission.

On the efforts being taken to bring the Canal back on track, which includes checking sewage inflows along its course, a Metro Water source notes the canal figures in the plans of the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust, and the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructural Financial Services Limited is on board to study the issues afflicting it. The source adds that as part of the solution, a sewage treatment plant has been proposed for the Canal. When it sees the light, the operation and maintenance of the STP will rest with the Metro Water.

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