After the manhole was left open about six months ago, more than a dozen of vehicles have had their wheels stuck in the hole. Local residents are worried that this could even lead to loss of life during the monsoon when pedestrians will not be able to spot the hole once it is under water.
“Six months ago, there was sewage overflowing in the street that was attended to by the workers. But after finishing their work, they left the manhole open. We tried keeping sticks around the hole to alert motorists and others, but it has not worked,” said Murugan S, a mechanic.
So far, he added, at least 10-15 vehicles have gotten stuck in this hole. If the wheel of a car or lorry goes inside, it would take more than 20 minutes to get it out, Murugan said.
“We filed complaints at the offices of both Chennai Corporation and Metro Water. Though the officials visit the spot, they never get back to address the issue. Now we don’t know who to approach to resolve this issue,” he said, pointing out that it was important to close this before the monsoon sets in. “Otherwise it will be difficult to even walk, because we will not be able to see it when the street is flooded.”
There is a government press located on the same street where many visually challenged persons are working. In the morning and evening, two men working at a nearby mechanic shop stands there to guide the visually challenged persons so that the open hole don’t pose a threat to them.
“We see accidents happening every day. We are tired of visiting the Corporation office to give complaints. We also spoke to the nearby police station about the accidents here. But they haven’t visited the place and we don’t think they have taken it up with the senior officials. When the heavy vehicles get stuck in the hole, we must wait for more than 30 minutes to cross this place,” said Venkateswarar E, working at government press.
“Whenever we get complaints regarding sewage manholes uncovered, action is taken immediately. We will ask the officials to visit the spot and close it immediately,” said G Prakash, Commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation.