Chennai

Uncleared debris comes in handy

Residents throw the debris on the land below to check inundation during rains. Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R_RAVINDRAN

Construction debris lying uncleared after a work has always been an irritant for residents. There are exceptions though. And this exception to the rule involves residents of an area whose defining feature is that it is overlooked by the Thirumangalam bridge. They have found these leftover materials coming to their rescue.

Over 150 families, a majority of them wage labourers working at construction sites, live with hardly any basic facilities in this area, which is tucked between Koyambedu Metro Rail station and the bridge along the Cooum river.

Whenever the Cooum on this section registers a rise in water level, the area comes under sheets of water, which forces these residents to move to the Corporation-run night shelters and community centres.

This time around, a section of the people used the debris left behind to prevent inundation of their area.

It was a year ago since the State Highways Department undertook the work of installing new tiles on the damaged footpath on the small bridge. The replaced old and broken tiles were dumped on both sides of the bridge.

“We can’t afford to buy construction debris to level the narrow lanes in our area, and so we decided to make use of the dumped debris and carried out the levelling work,” explains S. Muniswamy, a resident.

With the city and its outskirts witnessing frequent rains in the recent weeks, residents of neighbourhood decided to increase the height of the streets by at least one foot above the bund of the river to prevent inundation. Dividing themselves into small teams of three each, a group of residents were on the bridge to take and pass the debris while the rest were below the bridge to level the streets. Residents also cleaned the existing open stormwater drains to allow excess rainwater to flow freely to the river. The entire exercise of levelling the streets with footpath debris took a few hours of work.

“Most of the men in the neighbourhood did not go for work on that day as they had to do the levelling work. In fact, they contributed their day’s earnings in terms of their labour for the common good,” notes a Corporation official.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 3:20:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/uncleared-debris-comes-in-handy/article32935600.ece

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