Commuters, watch out for uncovered manholes
CHENNAI: Even as the city corporation is repairing potholes on a temporary basis, the poorly designed manholes have become a headache for motorists and corporation authorities. Broken manholes, those with protruding iron rods, partly-covered manholes are potential death traps for commuters.
Before the northeast monsoon began, city roads were dug for storm water drains (SWDs) and sewer connections. However, contract workers failed to closem properly which led to vehicles getting stuck in them in several areas, including Valasaravakkam, KK Nagar, and Porur.
The situation is dangerous to the public, especially during the rainy season when water covers most of the roads. Though complaints were raised to the city corporation, no steps were taken to close them.
“While returning after I dropped my son at school, I heard a loud noise and noticed my car wheel stuck inside a manhole. There was no concrete built around the manhole doors. During the rainy season, when the water stagnates, residents and shopkeepers of the areaopen the structure to drain the water,” said Shiva, one of residents of Valasaravakkam.
Due to the uncovered potholes and manhole doors, the number of accidents has increased in places like Valasaravakkam. “Vehicles skid, and senior citizens lose their balance especially during the rainy season,” lamented Paul Praveen, an activist. “There was a similar situation where a truck lorry got stuck inside a manhole at Porur. It has been a regular issue in the locality. We’ve filed many complaints through GCC’s Namma Chennai app, and even posted about it on social media but we haven’t received any response from the officers. We even asked the government to re-lay the road before the monsoon began.”
Fazil, a resident of Porur, said that recently the Metro Water board had dug up the road for sewage pipeline interconnection. After the work was completed, it was not closed properly. “In the last few days, two lorries got stuck in the same manhole, but luckily drivers were safe. When we raised a complaint and requested officials to re-lay the road at the earliest, they said their work was completed, and the road would not be dug further,” he said.
When contacted S Rajendiran, chief engineer (General), GCC, stated: “The old manhole doors were made of cement concrete and iron. Now, we’d be using fibre reinforced concrete and plastic doors. Also, the old manhole doors were 5 metres long. It difficult to desilt and impacted water flow. Now, there’d be additional doors in the old drains which’d be easy for workers to desilt without getting inside them.”