Apart from the fear of water stagnation, the huge pits on the road also pose a threat to the motorists as well as pedestrians. This became evident during the heavy rain in the city a few days ago, when water stagnation on the roads affected traffic movement.
Anna Salai: Despite being one of the arterial roads in the city, Anna Salai was badly hit during Thursday’s rainfall. This was mainly due to the ongoing storm water drain work near Spencer Plaza. When DT Next visited the spot, it was found that huge trenches were dug with cables criss-crossing it. Rain water mixed with sewage filled the trenches and emanated foul smell. An employee of a nearby electronics shop, said that the work started more than a month ago but the department is carrying it out at a snail’s pace. “As the entrance was damaged, we were using a wooden board to cross the open drain. On Thursday night, the wooden board was destroyed and water entered our shop,” she added.
Poonamallee High Road: Similar scenes were witnessed on Poonamallee High Road. Storm water drain works were undertaken by the Highways Department which was yet to be completed on the stretch between Arumbakkam and Anna Arch. M Rajavel, a shop owner pointed out a huge pit in front of his shop and said it was dug a week ago. “After that, no work took place. Also, no motorists visit my shop,” he said. At another spot, concrete work for the storm water drain has been completed. But the new drain abruptly stops close to a transformer leaving a huge pit on the busy road.
Anna Main Road, KK Nagar: On Anna Main Road near MGR Nagar junction in KK Nagar, Metro Water had dug a huge pit three months ago for underground sewer line work. Now, traffic is blocked on that particular portion. Also, the soil removed from the pit poses threat to the motorists. A Metro Water official said they are waiting for pipes to be laid inside the pits.
Jawaharlal Nehru Road: While most parts of Jawaharlal Nehru Road that connects Koyambedu and Kathipara Bridge is clear, a certain portion in Ekkattuthangal is in a dangerous state. “The work was started one week ago. When the block water enters from one point, sewage and rain water come out from another point. During the recent rainfall, the road was completely flooded,” Manikandan, a resident said.
Bhuvaneshwari Nagar in Velachery: “On Friday evening, a woman had a close shave on First Main Road in Bhuvaneshwari Nagar. She swerved her bike to avoid a car only to fall near a pit dug by the Metro Water more than a month ago,” S Kumar, who runs a shop in the area, said. He added that the Metro Water dug the road at several spots to repair a water line. When contacted, officials said the pits would soon be covered. Apart from those roads, the Corporation is yet to complete storm water drain work on several roads including Wallajah Road and Dr Ambedkar Road in Kodambakkam.
Suburban residents hopeful of escaping inundation this monsoon
Ahead of the monsoon, many residents in the suburbs are hopeful that the situation would be better this year due to improvement to storm water drains over the last year.
The storm water drains in and around Velachery have improved over the last two years, said M Balakrishnan, secretary, Tansi Nagar Resident’s Association. “The area is about 80 per cent prepared for the monsoons. The only issue we may face in case of heavy rains is due to the culverts that are clogged with garbage which prevent the flow of the water into Velachery lake. If these are not cleaned up, there will be water logging and flooding,” he said.
At Chitlapakkam, cut-and-cover and storm water drains were built in residential areas. However, some areas like Subash Chandra Bose Road, Vaidhalingam street and Pamban Swamigal Salai are still at risk.“The problem is that the capacity of older drains is still the same. The works to connect the drains on these streets are still pending, probably due to the pandemic. Should the rains be heavy, we might see flooding,” said P Viswanathan, convenor, Chitlapakkam Residents’ Associations Coordination Committee.Residents of Pallavaram were delighted to note that work on desilting drains in their neighbourhood began in September last week. “But many people dump sewage into the storm water drains and encroach waterways. I request the officials to take strict action against them for harming the neighbourhood’s safety,” said V Santhanam, a social activist from Pallavaram.
“Desilting will be carried out until the monsoon arrives to ensure that the drains function smoothly, said an official from the Public Works Department. The remainder of the SWD construction that was halted due to COVID lockdown would continue soon, he added.