Strangely, drain project in Chitlapakkam runs during monsoon

Chennai: Residents of Chitlapakkam are not so happy about the way the cut and cover drain project has been progressing. Water is stagnating in the pits that have been dug up for the project.

“Roads have caved in in a few places and increased the risk for residents, especially kids and elders. We have requested the officials to block unsafe roads and put proper blocks and message boards,” said Sunil Jayaram, member of the activist group Chitlapakkam Rising.

He further said the timing of the commencement of work on the project was not proper as it was begun just before the start of the monsoon.

“Several residents are under house arrest due to the caving in of the road. If rain persists, there are chances that the compound wall of a few houses might fall,” he said.

NO DESILTING

He further said besides the complex work getting done during peak monsoon, there is no proper desilting of Selaiyur, Chitlapakkam and Sembakkam lakes.

“The drain work should have started downstream, near Sembakkam lake. However, it has begun at Sethunarayana and Pamban Swamigal Street,” he added.

Residents have also reportedly said water stagnation in the drain pits has increased risk of water contamination.

Kanchipuram Collector P Ponniah surveyed the area yesterday and has directed to deploy 30 workers to stop cave-ins. However, the residents claimed that despite placement of boards along the sides, the cave-ins are yet to be arrested.

OFFICIAL SPEAK

Speaking to News Today, Chitlapakkam Town Panchayat executive officer M Venkatesh said all precautionary measures are being taken to ensure that there is no problem in the progress of the cut and cover drain project.

“When we dig a pit for such depths it is common for water to spring. We have been draining it out using motors for a long time. However, now due to rain, more water gets collected and we have been removing it as well. There is enough room for the residents to move around, but we have men in place even during night to ensure that there is no untoward incident. We have cut an alternative path to drain the water just in case there is more rain. Focus lights have been installed to alert passers-by of the drain,” he said.

On the issue of water contamination, Venkatesh said only if water gets stagnated there are chances of contamination, “but we do not let that happen”.

“The project is estimated to be completed in six months; however, we have asked the contractor to speed up things and get the work done as early as possible,” he added.

Balasubramani Muniyandi