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Raja Street residents want storm water drains fixed before monsoon
Every year, residents of Raja Street in Mandaveli team up with their locality’s Assistant Engineer of the Greater Chennai Corporation to conduct an audit of the storm water drains, ensuring that these structures are fixed before the monsoon. This year, however, the residents have found it difficult to get the process started, as the Corporation official kept changing every few months.
After the 2015 floods, residents of Raja Street assiduously audit the drains in their locality, with the Corporation officials, especially the assistant engineer (AE). Following this, a report is sent to the Storm Water Drains department at Ripon Building, and contract for the works awarded. This has been beneficial, as the locality didn’t face much waterlogging during the subsequent monsoons.
This year, however, the residents are at their wits’ end – because in the last six months, three different AEs have come and gone, stalling the procedure. Ganga Sridhar, an office-bearer of Raja Street Residents Welfare Association, said that the change in officials has stalled the process. “When the AE changed a few months ago, a group from our association met the new official, who was pro-active. He came down the next day with his team and we had an audit of the storm water drains – some of which were broken or desilted. He had written up a report (where he found more problems in the drains) and we countersigned it, following which it was sent to the headquarters. But just a few months later, the official was shifted, and the work has gone into cold-storage,” said the software professional.
The residents hope that the new Corporation official too will aid them in this annual exercise. “The works taken up last year had proved to be useful because our locality didn’t face severe inundation. But this year, we want to get the works done at the earliest because the monsoon season is not too far away,” added Ganga.
Install recharge pits along with drains
Residents of Mylapore, spurred on by their MLA R Nataraj, are coming forward to install recharge pits in their localities, to ensure that the rainwater is used to recharge the groundwater table. This, especially, is effective on streets without storm water drains. Residents of the adjacent TP Scheme Road have pooled in their resources to dig up recharge wells, after a particularly harrowing experience during the 2015 floods.
Aparna Saiganesh, a resident of TP Scheme Road, recalled, “Our road runs adjacent to the Adyar Poongaand since the road curves, the water flows into our street from Raja Street Extension and RK Mutt Road. During the 2015 floods, the water kept rising and we have to break open the Poonga wall to let it go. After that, we approached the Corporation officials but no response. Since we don’t have storm water drains, we decided to self-fund (Rs 20,000 per well) the installation of recharge wells in our side of the street. Since there are no houses on the other side, we approached our MLA, who agreed to fund it. That is way better than being anxious during the rains,” she added.
Other residents of Mylapore, too, want recharge wells on their street. “We have also approached the MLA for it, as our locality is water-starved during summer. These wells will recharge rainwater and improve the groundwater table,” added Ganga.