Prema, who has been living in the neighbourhood for the past 20 years has a petty shop, right next to the canal – choked with a carpet of water hyacinth on the surface dotted by plastic bottles, carry bags, thermacol and discarded clothes.
The water, visible in patches, is midnight black – indicating sewage inflow. Around 5 pm, the mosquito menace, augmented by the unclean canal, plagues the residents.
“The problem of mosquito starts during early evening. We have given many complaints to the Greater Chennai Corporation, but nobody heeded it. The canal is cleaned only during the monsoon season, if it blocks the water flow.
Otherwise, the residents must bear the brunt of the choked canal,” she added. The indiscriminate garbage dumping has worsened the situation, added Devi, another resident of RR Nagar.
“The Corporation’s door-to-door collection doesn’t happen regularly – in fact, there is a single conservancy worker with a tricycle who is allocated for the entire neighbourhood, which is insufficient.
Failing this, there are no dustbins in the locality for the residents to dump garbage. Trash gets collected in piles across the neighbourhood and eventually dumped into the canal,” she added. Ironically, the RR Nagar is located barely a few metres from the Corporation’s Kodungaiyur dump yard.
The residents blame a faulty garbage collection mechanism. “The Corporation asks us to keep our surroundings clean. Why are they not providing sufficient door-to-door garbage collection services,” questioned Ramesh, another resident.
The thick layer of water hyacinth covering the canal cannot be cleaned manually, stated the residents.
“It has to be done mechanically,” added Devi, who said the Corporation officials had promptly cleared the canal during the recent bye-elections but haven’t paid attention to it recently. A senior Corporation official said that the civic body had taken a decision to clean the canal at a recent meeting.
“The decision to clean it using fiberglass boats or a robotic excavator will be taken up depending on the requirement. The work will commence within a week,” said the official.