The residents of Kodambakkam say the canal was instrumental in saving them from facing the brunt of the deluge in Chennai in 2015.
“During the 2015 floods, Trust Puram area – starting from Arcot Road to the fifth street – was severely inundated. One part of Trust Puram was saved as the canal drained excess water into the Cooum,” M Chandrasekar, a shop owner on Trust Puram Main Road, said.
The bunds of the canal are damaged and falling off in many places.
This apart, garbage dumps have propped up along its banks. Pieces of furniture float in the canal, mounds of which hinder the flow of water during heavy rain. This could cause the canal to overflow leading to inundation, residents say.
The canal that runs through Reddykuppam collects surplus stormwater before draining into the Cooum river. “The canal’s width has shrunk considerably due to excessive weed growth. Civic officials got the canal cleared a couple of years ago. It has since been left untouched,” Chandrasekar alleged. He said the authorities had planned to place a cover of concrete over the canal and allow shops on it years ago. But the project was shelved, sources said.
A Chennai Corporation official said the civic body had de-silted all the major canals in the Kodambakkam zone, and added that the Trust Puram canal would be cleared of garbage and vegetation in a few days. “The canal is small and its carrying capacity is much lower than other canals in the city. We have cleared the Mambalam canal and other waterbodies,” he said.
Explaining the fast growth of shrubs all over the canal space, the official said the canal would remain dry most of the time and plants sprouted after the recent rain.
“We are using robotic earthmovers to clean canals in the city and we are ready to face the monsoon,” the official said.