CHENNAI: The last time residents of New West Street in Choolaimedu saw officials of the Chennai Corporation was about a year ago, when they came to inspect the stretch before laying cement concrete. But the residents objected to it, asking them to fix the recurring problem of sewage overflow before laying the road.
Despite pleading with the officials repeatedly, the road remains battered and sewage continues to overflow. Though they reside in the heart of the city, the people here allege they are decades behind when it comes to basic amenities.
“The sewer lines were laid decades ago, before the population increased substantially. Now, they choke often and sewage overflows on to the street. They should change it at the earliest,” said S Kalaivani, a long-time resident and honorary president of New West Street House Owners Welfare Association.
When the officials visited the place around a year ago to lay cement concrete, the residents told them to do so only after solving the sewage problem. “But they left it like that and went away. Now we are requesting them to lay at least tar road for the time being. Whenever we ask, the standard reply is: ‘the road will be laid soon’,” Kalaivani added.
A few other residents, requesting anonymity, claimed that there had been several instances of sewage mixing with drinking water. “It happens once in a while, we cannot be sure when. During those times, our sump would get filled with sewage water, forcing us to clean it. Over a year ago, the officials brought some heavy machinery and did some plugging. But that has not really helped,” said a resident.
According to a member of the residents’ association, the street has been getting step-motherly treatment from the authorities. “This is the only street that has been ignored, whereas all the roads in the vicinity have been laid properly. They have not even installed a proper street name board here. And on top of that, we have to deal with sewage trouble,” the member added.
Speaking to CE, ward 108 councillor S Ameerbasha said it was the residents who stopped work on concretising the street by raising objection at that time. “Now they are insisting on black-topping it with tar. Funds for this has been sanctioned and work will begin in a week or so. It will be laid in about 15 days,” the councillor added.
Meanwhile, an official from Chennai Metro Water promised that the sewer lines would be desilted coming weekend.
“The problem of sewage mixing with drinking water was there before, but no complaints have been coming anymore. If there are complaints from the residents, we will immediately attend to them,” the official added.