CHENNAI: They have been part of the Chennai metropolis for four years, but for the people in Ram Nagar North Extension in Puzhuthivakkam, life has not improved from mofussil grade. The hundreds, who reside here, are struggling between development and stagnation, where even a light shower would cause inundation, crippling life for days.
Residents here alleged that the work on the underground water supply and drainage network was unplanned, causing much trouble to them. They added that the officials and even the local ward councillor never showed up in the area to hear their grievances “When they took up work here, all the roads were dug up at the same time. The work has been going on for months, and many roads are still cut off,” said P Rangaswamy, president of Social Service Trust in the area.
The low-lying area, which now comes under Ward 169 of the Chennai Corporation, gets inundated after a mild shower. After the recent rains, they had to battle knee-deep water stagnation. There are about 15,000 families residing along the 65 streets. “But there are neither storm water drains (SWDs) nor any canal for the flood water to drain,” Rangaswamy added.
These issues have forced many to lock their house and move elsewhere temporarily, residents alleged.
R Raja Subramanian, who came to the area three years ago, said he was now forced to pay Rs 1,500 every month to clean the septic tank in his house. “Ground water is also not usable. It’s good that development works are happening, but how long will it take to complete an underground network? We don’t see the ward councillor PA Jeyachandran, in the area at all; he is too busy with his personal works to address our grievances. He is now busy making arrangements for his birthday party,” Raja alleged.
According to G N Paneerselvam, another resident, the authorities erred by not planning the work properly. “They dug up all the roads at once and made our lives miserable. Instead, they should have done it part by part. That way all this mess could have been avoided. But the officials are not concerned about the residents difficulties, while executing such works,” he rued.
When CE contacted him, local councillor Jeyachandran refused to comment. According to Chennai Corporation Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy, it is the Metro Water work that is getting delayed.
“We have even sanctioned funds for laying the roads. Once Metro Water submits the work completion report, we will start the works without any delay,” he added.
Denying allegations of delay, a senior Metro Water official said that though the project began in 2012, the work in Ram Nagar- North Extension was taken up only six month ago. The deadline for completion, he added, was November.“It is the rains that delayed the works, as it is a low-lying area with clay soil. Whenever there was water logging, we had to stop the work. As it is the tail-end area and does not have any proper channels for water to drain, it would always take some days to resume work. These issues delayed the work,” the official said.
He claimed that about 90 per cent of the work was over and the work completion report has already been submitted to the corporation. Work underneath the remaining streets will be completed by the end of August, he assured.