Arterial roads develop gaping potholes

Most municipalities and the Chennai Corporation, with inadequate preparations, have been caught flat-footed by the rains. Alandur is one such, as Palaniammal Street shows. — Photo: S. Thanthoni

Most municipalities and the Chennai Corporation, with inadequate preparations, have been caught flat-footed by the rains. Alandur is one such, as Palaniammal Street shows. — Photo: S. Thanthoni  

CHENNAI NOV. 10. Stripped of whatever asphalt they had, many city roads were reduced to bumpy stretches with numerous potholes, over which traffic laboured along on Sunday.

Poor preparedness for the continuing rain claimed the life of a 13-year-old boy, Vasanthakumar of Aseervadhapuram, Broadway. He was electrocuted today when he touched a live wire near his residence. Another person sustained injuries when he was trapped under the debris of a dilapidated building on Vanchinathan Street, Sembium, which collapsed this morning.

The State Highways, entrusted with several important roads in the city, and the Chennai Corporation, which is responsible for the rest, were slow to react, as arterial roads, including Anna Salai and Poonamallee High Road developed gaping potholes. Busy stretches such as Haddows Road and Nungambakkam High Road too suffered heavily.

Ironically, though the Highways Research Station here has several projects looking into "better road technology", the official agencies seemed clueless about repairing potholes other than by dumping broken bricks and other crude filling material.

Residents had to wade through the severely inundated Razzaq Garden Road in Arumbakkam and Sydenhams Road. "Most city roads have become death traps. There is no warning sign and many two-wheeler riders had narrow escapes", says Palani, a two-wheeler rider who had a similar experience on Razzaq Garden Road. Similarly, Santhome High Road, Sardar Patel Road and Velachery High Road suffered severe erosion. The carriageway on the Velachery-Tambaram Road has disappeared.

Meanwhile, due to heavy flooding, about 2,800 persons were evacuated from various low-lying areas including Canal Bank Road in Beemanapet, Kalyanapuram and Erukkencherry areas in Division 32, Kakkanji Nagar in ICF, South Jagannatha Nagar slums in Division 63, Rajarathinam Nagar in Tondiarpet Zone, and Bharathi Salai in Royapettah. The Corporation said it was using 35 high power pumpsets in different parts of the city.

Reports of sewage overflow were received from Avadhana Papaiah Street where, Corporation officials said, the Metrowater pumping station was being operated overtime to clear the sewage.

Emergency Corpn. meeting

At an emergency meeting of all service agencies at Ripon Building, the civic authorities said they were working towards finding a `permanent solution' to the inundation problem in certain areas. For example, at Ganesapuram, Vyasarpadi and Perambur subways, the authorities have decided to lay a pipeline till the Buckingham Canal to pump out water. Earlier, the water was being baled out of the subway which flowed back into it. G.N.Chetty Road and its adjoining areas in T.Nagar were promised relief with another announcement on the desilting of the Mambalam canal. The civic officials said about 300 families living on the banks of Buckingham Canal at Triplicane area would be evicted in a day or two, as a prelude to desilting operations. A high-level committee had been set up by the Government to study the existing storm water drain network and assess the necessity for more drains, in consultation with Anna University. The Corporation Commissioner, M. Kalaivanan, said the civic body purchased five tonnes of `cold mix' an adhesive used to lay roads, to do up the battered city roads once the water receded.

In Palavakkam, Thoraipakkam, Neelankarai and surrounding areas more than 1,000 houses are cut off due to severe inundation, said Oggiyam Thoraipakkam panchayat president, B.Sridhar. "Gunny sacks placed along the in-construction Sholinganallur bridge are slowing the flow of water from land to sea and allowing for a faster rate of seawater intrusion, resulting in the flooding". Waters from Velachery, Taramani, Madipakkam, and other southern suburbs flowed through the Okkiyam Thoraipakkam bridge to the sea, he said. "Both sides of the Buckingham Canal here are raised; so water does not flow into the canal but flows back," said the correspondent of Akshara Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Nalini Unni. "The school has been closed since last Friday due to inundation. The height of the 192-acre Kannagi Nagar Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board colony here has been raised so high that all the waters from there flow into the adjoining areas. As a result, places like Raju Nagar, Easwaran Koil Street and PTC Colony are in water".

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