The situation is especially bad in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, where residents’ welfare associations are forced to tackle waterlogging, sewer overflow and sanitation issues on their own.
“The situation had become worse after the first spell of rains,” said Mohamad Salim of Puzhal Mercy Nagar Residents Welfare Association near Red Hills. Petitions sent to the Corporation Ward and Zone offices, and even to the Chief Minister’s Special Cell have failed to bring any respite, he said. “We have submitted more than a dozen petitions in the past two years, but there has been no action,” rued Salim.
“With the Revenue and Corporation officials not inspecting wards, encroachment is also rampant in Ward 22. Before the pandemic outbreak, the tahsildar had inspected the locality following our complaint. But there has been no enforcement till date,” added social activist R Thamizharasan, a resident of Red Hills locality.
Local MLA S Sudharsanam agreed that the people were suffering because Corporation and Metro Water officials have not been conducting grievance meetings or inspecting wards. “Several complaints from the public forwarded to the zonal office and Metro Water from my MLA office are yet to be addressed. There are drinking water and stormwater projects in the area that have been pending for more than five years. Despite taking up these issues in the Assembly, there is no respite for my constituency,” fumed the DMK MLA.
He alleged that the civic officials were now using COVID-19 as another excuse for the delay in completing the projects. The Rs 55 crore integrated drinking water project sanctioned in 2010 by DMK president MK Stalin when he was Deputy CM was yet to be implemented, he pointed out, adding how some of the localities that were brought under city Corporation limits were yet to have basic civic infrastructure.
When contacted, a senior Corporation official from Madhavaram zone said that the roads would be re-laid after the monsoon. Tenders have been floated for areas where the new roads are required, but the stormwater drain project would take some time, as the comprehensive project was hit by shortage of funds, he added. “Plans and proposals for the big projects have been sent to the government; they can be executed only if the government clears our proposals,” the official added.