Chennai

Vijayaraghava Road: An eye on two issues that need to be addressed

On Vijayaraghava Road, smack outside the compound wall of Andhra Social & Cultural Association Employees Union, a JCB is scratching around for debris, and in the process racheting up the decibles. The machine has knuckled down to a challening task, breaking down the remains of an old stormwater drain shoehorned into a constricted space between a massive banyan tree and the compound wall.

The JCB is “huffing” loudly and from the look of it, it has not made much headway. The banyan has not been touched — yet. From a cursory look at the width of the new SWD network that is emerging on the road, the banyan would likely undergo a chiselling exercise.

Besides this section, the one where North Boag Road cuts Vijayaraghava Road into two neat halves, underlines how the old stormwater drain network had been operated within small dimensions.

The dimensions of an old concrete pipeline — now exposed on account of the digging — meant to convey rainwater from one half of Vijayaraghava Road to the other, under North Boag Road is a silent commentary on how in the past, this road had been wading into a grenade-hurling dominated war every monsoon with nothing to protect it other than a staff.

Civic activist Dayanand Krishnan, who had studied the streets of T Nagar for issues relating to stormwater drainage, notes the old SWD network was found wanting both in terms of width and depth.

Over the N-E monsoons, inundation-prone Vijayaraghava Road (which kept its date with waterlogging in November 2021) is reported to have suffered from another issue, one not as evident as narrow SWDs.

Anamolies in the design of the old SWD network were said to be causing backflow of rainwater. Given this, Dayanand underlines that utmost attentin has to be paid to creating the proper gradient that would ensure rainwater is carried to its draining destination — which in the case of Vijayaraghava Road is the Mambalam Canal — without any hindrance.

Is this question — which is actually the bigger one — being addressed in the ongoing intergrated strormwater drain project?

Vijayaraghava Road falls in Ward 133, Zone 10 (Kodambakkam).

N Suresh, zonal officer of Zone 10, says the current ISWD project has been vetted by IIT-Madras, and this anamoly (backflow of rainwater due to poor alignment) is among all issues that are being addressed by the exercise.

The zonal officer notes that rainwater drains into the Mambalam Canal taking two routes: In one, rainwater drains into Canal directly, and in the other, via an SWD system on GN Chetty Road.

We are only a couple of months away from learning how much the new stormwater drain netowork helps the movement of rainwater through these two routes.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 10:55:07 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/vijayaraghava-road-an-eye-on-two-issues-that-need-to-be-addressed/article65766448.ece