CHENNAI: Barely a month ago, an ambitious project was launched at the cost of whopping Rs 3 crore to draw 20 lakh litres of water from Madambakkam lake. The idea was to dig wells on the lake bed and supply that water to homes via pipelines. Three wells have been sunk for the Madambakkam-Chitlapakkam pipeline project, but they barely have any water. The panchayat claims officials have not been able to draw more than 13 lakh litres per day.
Residents say even that figure seems exaggerated. According to panchayat data, 2,444 houses in Chitlapakam have water connections. If panchayat’s estimate of 13 lakh litres is correct, Chitlapakam residents must receive water on alternate days, assuming each connection gets about 1,000 litres a day.
Residents, however, say they get water from the scheme only once in eight days, that too just for an hour.
All is not ‘well’ with Madambakkam water project
PUBLIC money to the tune of Rs 3 crore has been spent on the Madambakkam-Chitlapakkam pipeline project, to dig three wells on the Madambakkam lake and supply that water to houses in the neighbourhood. However, just a month after the project was launched, it has come to light that there is barely any water in any of these three wells. Residents are now getting water from the scheme only once in eight days, that too, just for an hour. Though the project is being implemented by the Municipal Administration Department, the Madambakkam Town Panchayat had to shell out Rs 37.5 lakh towards the construction. Each well has a depth of 56 feet, say officials.
G Rajendran of the Save Madambakkam Lake committee says the water spring is not as good as it used to be when the well was dug in June. “It’s impossible to draw 13 lakh litres, going by the water level in the wells,” he says. “The project has not lasted even for a month. Even when they started the project, residents had opposed it, saying groundwater levels had dipped drastically in the last decade.”
Meanwhile, the Madambakkam Panchayat created 49 new borewells in residential areas, at a cost of Rs 81 lakh. Just a month later, 12 of these have gone dry. “The issue is that no thought went into implementation,” says N Krishnan, president of the lake committee.
“When we applied through RTI for details of surveys and studies undertaken before the implementation of the project, they did not have anything to show us,” says Krishnan. All that came out of the project was a park, say residents. Now, even that has been lost to an underground sump constructed with a capacity of 2 lakh litres. When contacted, a Madambakkam Panchayat official denied that the project was a failure.