CHENNAI: The Chennai Corporation’s ‘outdated’ methods of clearing out sludge removed from storm water drains (SWD) has turned many city roads messy, with the most recent spell making it worse.
Sludge mixed with rainwater choked the flow of floodwater into the SWDs in locations such as Anna Nagar, Mogappair and Vepery among others. With the sludge flowing back into the drains, it is left to one’s imagination as to whether the Corporation realises that the whole process of clearing the drains is becoming counterproductive.
While the Corporation has been at the receiving end of activists wanting the civic body to refrain from employing manual scavengers to de-silt the drains, civic body officials maintain that the sludge clearing process is necessary due to the countless illegal sewer connections to its SWD network. However, the logic behind leaving the sludge out to dry for weeks suggests that civic body officials are content with pursuing old methods.
“When the sludge is removed, it is laid out to dry for about a week. The logic is that there are difficulties in transporting wet sludge,” said an official. “Wet sludge will seep and dirty the roads through which it is being carried. Besides, once the sludge dries, it weighs far less,” the official said pointing out that it helps in easy transportation.
But residents who are not impressed with the civic body’s method suggested that with the technological advancements, it was unfair for the civic body to continue such old methods. “The workers pour out the sludge on the roads nearby pavements. For the duration that it is left to dry, walking on the stretch is next to impossible as the stench would be unbearable,” said K Muthukumaran, a passerby at Vepery.