Officials claimed that it is difficult to complete the work without the cooperation of the residents
It was built as part of Greater Chennai Corporation’s project to build a 19.2 kilometre-long wall on either side of the river, up to the river mouth, to safeguard the river and protect it from encroachments. The existing encroachments were evicted, and the banks were dug to erect the concrete walls.
While the construction of the wall along the banks at Padi Pudhunagar was completed recently, the pits have not been closed properly, leaving five-feet deep holes on the residential side. Karthik, a resident of Round Building, complained that the authorities concerned have not realised the danger it poses to senior citizens and children of the locality. “The pit is just a few feet away from houses and children playing outside have chances of falling into them. If there is a slight rain, the water fills up the pits in no time. There is a risk of motorists falling into the pit since the road is narrow,” he said.
Karthik alleges the authorities levelled the ground on the other side of the bank since a regional transport office has been inaugurated there. But they turned a blind eye on the residential side. When the residents contacted the officials, they reportedly pointed fingers at the contractors claiming that it was their job to level the ground. Karthik alleges that officials have been bribed by contractors and they could not order the contractors to complete the job for the same reason.
However, when contacted, Assistant Engineer Ananthraj blamed the residents for not clearing the parked vehicles on the stretch, making them unable to close the pits and level the ground. “Even on Wednesday, I went with earthmovers and labourers to complete the work, but the residents do not cooperate. Since the stretch is narrow, earthmovers cannot enter the street unless the vehicles are cleared. If residents cooperate, the work will be completed in a day,” he said.