‘Plan to save Chitlapakkam in Chennai from flooding ineffective’

The Public Works Department has drawn up  a `96-crore proposal to construct underground drains from the Selaiyur lake to a vacant three-acre Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department plot to

Published: 02nd January 2018 03:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd January 2018 08:27 AM   |  A+A-

Excess water from Selaiyur lake entering the vacant land that belongs to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department at Selaiyur, before flowing into residential areas of Chitlapakkam in Chennai | Sunish P Surendran

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Public Works Department has drawn up a `96-crore proposal to construct underground drains from the Selaiyur lake to a vacant three-acre Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department plot to prevent flooding of residential areas. However, residents of Chitlapakkam, who are worst affected by the flooding, are afraid this measure will do very little in stopping their area from flooding.

According to the proposal, drains will be constructed under roads along which the excess water from the Selaiyur lake flows during the monsoon after crossing the Velachery Main Road.However, all water will continue to reach the three-acre plot, which belongs to the HRCE department in Selaiyur, from where it overflows into residential areas in Chitlapakkam before reaching the Sembakkam lake.If the proposal materialises, streets such as Eshwari Nagar Street and Subash Chandra Bose street which have become de facto canals that carry the water to the empty plot, will benefit.

But most of the water overflows into Chitlapakkam through the empty HRCE plot which looks like a small pond during the monsoon and is polluted by raw sewage in the summer.“Why isn’t the PWD tracing the original flow of water and identifying residential and commercial buildings which are impediments?”, said P Viswanathan, president of the Chitlapakkam Residents Welfare Association whose RTI petition asking for details of the outlet water channels of Selaiyur lake has been ignored.

Viswanathan’s RTI petition was sent to the Water Resources Department on September 12. It was forwarded by the executive engineer, A Muthaiya of the Lower Palar Basin division, to his assistant on November 22, instructing him to provide Viswanathan the information.But Viswanathan is yet to receive a response. “Because the HRCE plot is empty, it ensures the flooding is minimised, but if they construct buildings there, the flooding will be uncontrollable,”  Viswanathan says.  

When Express contacted a PWD official in Kancheepuram district regarding the new proposal, he maintained that the “cut-and-cover” method proposed is the most effective way to prevent water from stagnating on roads.Viswanathan also claimed the alternative suggested by the residents of Chitlapakkam to construct a drain along the Velachery Main Road is “not a feasible option”.Residents feel let down by the efforts taken by the government after Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami surveyed the flooded area in November.“This proposal is an expensive short-term solution,” says Viswanathan.

RTI plea sent to Water Resources Dept ignored

P Viswanathan, president of the Chitlapakkam Residents Welfare Association, asks “Why isn’t the PWD tracing the original flow of water and identifying residential and commercial buildings which are impediments?” His RTI petition asking for details of the outlet water channels of Selaiyur lake has been ignored. Viswanathan’s RTI petition was sent to the Water Resources Department on September 12. It was forwarded by the executive engineer, A Muthaiya of the Lower Palar Basin division, to his assistant on November 22, instructing him to provide Viswanathan the information. But Viswanathan is yet to receive a response. 

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