Canal area encroachments cause flooding

A bird's eye view of Choolai High Road. — Photo: S. Thanthoni

A bird's eye view of Choolai High Road. — Photo: S. Thanthoni  

CHENNAI NOV. 9. Residents of the Slum Clearance board tenements at VOC Nagar in Old Washermanpet have only themselves to blame if rainwater has entered their households.

Most of the residents in the colony have either themselves encroached upon space allocated for drainage facility or lived in rented premises of such structures. The number of houses in the colony has exceeded its actual number of 1,500 to over 5,000 today, eating into all available public space.

Further, most of the residents have not even come forward to take up sewage connections from Metrowater. The reason--they find the connection cost too high. Recently, the government had cut the fee of Rs 3,900 per connection by half to benefit the residents of the Slum Clearance Board. Also, they have informed that the revised fee of Rs 1,950 could be paid in three instalments. Even this has been received with a lukewarm response.

When the local R.K.Nagar MLA, P.K. Sekar Babu, visited the inundated area on Saturday, he was literally ghearoed by the residents who wanted a ready solution for the problem. However, when the accompanying officials asked the residents whether they had encroached on the space allotted for drainage systems, mum was the word.

The condition at VOC Nagar is not very different from most other parts of North Chennai, where rampant encroachments on canal areas and water drainage points have led to severe inundation every time it rains. The situation also replicates itself in the region surrounding Captain Cotton Canal.

Residents of Bhoja Raja Nagar in Old Washermanpet (ward 13), have a similar tale of woes running for more than three decades now. The local councillor, Selvi, who accompanied the Local Administration Minister during an inspection on Saturday, was met with a hostile reception from residents. They questioned the `sudden reappearance' of the councillor during the rains.

However, Ms Selvi maintained that the inundation problem in the area was a fallout of the encroachments along the railway track abutting the region. Some residents too pointed out that "Alla Kullam", which was the natural drainage point, had been encroached during recent years.

Water entered several households at Ellaya Mudali Street. Residents complained of sewage bursts in Metrowater pipelines close to the Tondiarpet `F' pumping station. Mr. Sekar Babu said the fault had been identified by local Metrowater officials and would be rectified by tomorrow.

The fear of falling into trenches forces pedestrians to walk on the middle of road, unmindful of heavy vehicles.

The fear of falling into trenches forces pedestrians to walk on the middle of road, unmindful of heavy vehicles.  

Residents of Vyasarpadi had a harrowing time this afternoon, after the Vyasarpadi Bridge was inundated. One representative of the local residents' welfare association said it took more than two hours to travel from the area to the Port Trust. Several residents remained indoors unable to reach offices in the city.

Same tale in South too: The tormenting time continued for residents of southern suburbs of Chennai. The AG's colony at Velachery continued to be inundated. The situation was no different in Balaji Nagar of Alwarthirunagar. Residents of Jeevan Nagar, Indira Gandhi Nagar, TNGO Colony and Sanjay Gandhi Nagar at Adambakkam complained that they continued to wade through knee-deep water in their streets.

At Rajakilpakkam, water stagnation on the Velachery Main Road forced police to divert a stretch of the road to be used as one-way. Similarly, inundation on the GST Road adjacent to the MIT Gate resulted in traffic flow at a snail's pace.

A Fire Tender and two other pumps belonging to the Pallavaram Municipality and the Highways Department were baling out the water. A portion of the centre median was broken in order to pump the water across to the other side. Vehicles proceeding towards Tambaram were diverted via the other carriageway.

The Welfare Minister, B.Valarmathy, today visited some of the affected areas falling under the Pallavaram municipality.

Local residents pointed out that stagnation of water adjacent to the construction site of flyover at MIT Gate had become a common feature. Further, today's measure of baling out the water only resulted in "shifting the problem", as water entered the localities in the vicinity.

Parts of Chromepet went without power during the day as a couple of EB posts were damaged when a tree fell on them within the premises of the Government Thoracic Hospital at Tambaram due to rains this morning.

The power supply was disrupted at 11 a.m. and restored a little past 8.30 p.m.

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