CHENNAI : A private high school in Konnur High Road, with a student count of approximately 50 students, had just wrapped up a meeting on Swachch Bharat Pakhwada, on Thursday morning. But ironically, right outside the school’s main gate is the Otteri Nullah canal, clogged with garbage and construction debris from houses demolished over three months ago.
“It has been a nuisance for a long time because we don’t have any other gates. Students are forced to navigate through the dirt. In fact, I believe it is one of the main reasons that the strength of the school dropped from over 200 to 50,” said the headmistress of the school on condition of anonymity.In May this year, 315 families were evacuated from the Konnur High Road and resettled to Perumbakkam. But, the debris from the demolished houses continues to clog the canal.
“Those who found the debris blocking their houses had them removed on their own. The rest are all lying here, yet to be cleared,” said Sujatha, a resident of Tank Bund Road, off Konnur High Road.Many residents of Tank Bund Road, along which a part of the canal passes through, have been living with the bed of waste that layers the canal right outside their homes for many months now. The fact that many of these families cook outside their homes makes matters worse.
“Once a month, officials come to clear only the waste that clogs the outlets. In only a few hours, it is clogged again,” said Sujatha.When contacted, Corporation officials said that the waste and weeds is periodically cleared along the stretch. “Sanitary workers regularly clean the waste and vegetation along the stretch,” the official said.
Evacuation and demolition
The Otteri Nullah canal that originates from Poonamalle High Road snakes across 9.3 kilometres in the Thiru Vi Ka Nagar zone of the Chennai Corporation and joins Otteri Nullah. Mostly polythene bags, construction debris, carcasses of dogs and other animals clog the canal. In May this year, 315 families were evacuated from the Konnur High Road and resettled to Perumbakkam. But, the debris from the demolished houses continues to clog the canal.