Tamil Nadu

Residents of parts of ECR oppose storm water drain project

They fear it will hinder groundwater recharge; Corporation says project based on a feasibility study

Residents of some localities along East Coast Road oppose the construction of a storm water drain network as they fear the project would hinder groundwater recharge. However, Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) officials said the project was proposed based on a feasibility study carried out on the Kovalam basin.

Members of the residents’ welfare associations in Kapaleeswarar Nagar, Neelankarai and VGP Golden Sea View, Palavakkam, have represented to GCC to avoid constructing SWD in their area as it had sandy soil condition with faster percolation rate. The localities on the ocean side of the ECR did not face issues of water stagnation.

Rohit Menon, secretary, Sri Kapaleeswarar Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association, said the rainwater gets absorbed faster in our locality. “We depend on groundwater resources as we don’t have a drinking water network. There was no water stagnation during 2015 floods too. We had made representations to the GCC that had promised to look into the issue. However, they have started surveying for the project again.”

Residents noted that most of the houses had rainwater harvesting structures and the excess rainwater drained naturally into the sea. L.P.Subramanian, secretary, VGP Golden Sea View Residents’ Welfare Association said groundwater has improved after the corporation built recharge wells in the area. More such wells could be constructed instead of SWD.

Sekar Raghavan, director, Rain Centre, noted that recharge wells are best suited for the south coastal aquifer from Besant Nagar to Muttukadu where rainwater percolation rate is higher.

The GCC had proposed to construct integrated SWD network in three stretches – GST Road to Pallikaranai Marshland, Pallikaranai Marshland to Kottivakkam in ECR and Kottivakkam to Uthandi to prevent flooding in south Chennai and based on a study. Similar to the storm water drain project being funded by various foreign agencies, the Kovalam basin project was funded by a German agency named KfW.

The civic body had proposed to start work on the Kottivakkam-Uthandi stretch as it involved minimal land acquisition.

A senior official of Greater Chennai Corporation said a section of residents of Kapaleeswarar Nagar in Neelankarai, which was merged with the Chennai Corporation in 2014, wanted the funds allotted for the SWD to be used for the construction of water and sewerage networks.

The civic official questioned how funds allotted for a particular project could be diverted to the Metrowater schemes.

On the drinking water scheme for Neelankarai, sources in Chennai Metrowater said was being delayed due to issues in identifying land for the water distribution station.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 11:17:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/residents-of-parts-of-ecr-oppose-storm-water-drain-project/article31933633.ece

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