10 years on, residents around Ambattur Lake bund lament lack of sewage connection

A fully functional sewage system is one of the basic rights of a community in any city of the world, but it might as well be just an interesting theory for the public in Ambattur.
Sludge on one of the roads after sewage water is pumped out.
Sludge on one of the roads after sewage water is pumped out.

CHENNAI: For over 10 years, residents around the Ambattur Lake bund have been running from pillar to post seeking underground drainage connection for their houses. They have urged the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) to provide a sewage connection and also take more steps to protect the lake where untreated waste-water is being drained.

Sewage water flows through the stormwater drains to Ambattur Lake and as the houses are located nearby, authorities suspect the tenements to be encroachments. Residents lament that though multiple complaints have been registered, the sewage connection for residents and water pollution remains a pipe dream.

“For years, we’ve been asking for a sewerage connection. Though the recent court order stated that any person who wanted to register a property document can submit a self-declaration that the property is not an encroachment on water body, there’s no relief,” rued SP Nedumaran, a resident of Ambattur.

Most residents have legal documents, but officials ask for town survey documents from Tahsildar and other revenue papers adding to the mental agony, he pointed out. “The department does not describe the homes as encroachments. Neither do they give drainage connections. All papers and documents are available with the government but for some reason, we’re forced to run around for a basic amenity,” he added.

When it rains, most streets are stagnated with drainage water, which forces residents to walk through the sludge. “The road becomes a mess after the drainage water is pumped out. In the entire locality, only 30-40 per cent of residents have got sewage connection,” said Vijayakumar, another resident of Ambattur.

Pollution and underground water depletion compound their woes. Sewerage is drained through lorries. Uncleared water hyacinth has made the lake a breeding centre for mosquitoes. The civic officials have failed to weed out the aquatic plants.

A senior official at CMWSSB said that they have been instructed to check the legal documents of land for sewage connection. “At least 3 years, we’ve been asking for documents from residents, but they delayed in providing it on time. Only after checking the legal documents further steps will be taken,” the official said.

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