CHENNAI: A house owner in Mogappair East is lifting his house base with jacks by about three feet just so it is once again on level with the road outside.
Speaking to CE, Rajasekharan* said that his hand was forced after Pachaiyappas Road in Mogappair East, where his house is located, grew in height by nearly four feet in the last 15 years. “We built this house in the 90s. But the problems started in the mid-2000s after the road was re-laid several times without scrapping the old layer off,” he said.
“When it used to rain, not only did rain water enter our house but because the road height had increased, we had to deal with problems such as sewage flushing back into our homes,” he added.
Having flagged down a contractor specialising in lifting and shifting structures, Rajasekharan is spending close to `3 lakh to elevate his family out of their troubles. But, he is not the only victim here. In fact, nearly every house on Pachaiyappas Road and the streets adjoining it are at least one feet to three feet below road level. It even got to a point when residents contemplated paying money to the road contractor in order to ensure he would scrap the old layer off. “Some of us collected money and paid the contractor but he returned the money and laid the new road over the previous layer,” said a resident, speaking on condition of anonymity.
When CE contacted zonal corporation officials, their response was that it was commonplace for such problems to exist in areas under extended limits. “The relaying should have happened under the erstwhile Ambattur municipality. It is not the Corporation’s fault,” said a local official.
However, when the official was told that residents spoke of how the road was re-laid once again at a cost of more than `1 crore very recently, he had no answer. Senior corporation officials, meanwhile, acknowledged the gravity of this situation which is persistent even in core city limits. “Unfortunately, the Chennai Corporation has hardly ever milled roads in the past. Maybe, on cost considerations and often due to emergency,” said a senior official.
“As a result, there is no investment by contractors on buying milling machines. Overall, there is little institutional capacity to do milling according to norms. But, it is for this reason that the present programme of relaying 197 Bus Route Roads starts with milling roads,” the official clarified.
*Name changed on request