CHENNAI: Though Srimathi has a toilet with water supply at her house in TKP Nagar in Tiruvottriyur, she tries to avoid using it. As her house doesn’t have a drainage connection, she has to collect sewage in a bucket and dump it in the empty plot near her house. Srimathi said that she has to do this only at midnight so that no one catches her in the act.
“If my neighbours see me dumping sewage near their house, a big quarrel will break out. But there is no other space to dispose it off. All of us do the same thing. We have no other choice,” she added.With around 300 families disposing of sewage in the open, the foul smell is a constant companion if you go to any street in TKP Nagar. The vacant plots are all in black colour, with the dried up sewage.
The reason behind this problem is the repeated delay by Metro Water in providing underground sewage connections for Kathivakkam and Thiruvottriyur for over a decade. Due to this, residents are living with overflowing waste water in their houses for years now.
The residents of this area built houses on the land allotted by the State government in 1999 after being displaced from various parts of the city. But even after 20 years, Metro Water hasn’t given drainage connection to the area. In contrast, the neighbouring resettlement colony, All India Radio Nagar, has been provided with this connection.
Because of this residents have to shell out Ra 10,000 to Rs 20,000 to build a makeshift structure outside their houses to collect the sewage water from toilets. “As we have no space to dispose of the used water, we are forced to dump it into empty plots. Because of this mosquito breeding has also gone up. Children and the elderly fall sick very often for those living in houses that do not have an empty land nearby just pour it out on the road,” said Srimathi D, a resident.
A year ago, residents got piped water connection and were promised by Metro Water officials that drainage connection would soon be provided but such promises still remain unfulfilled, complained locals.“Officials said as there is no tar road inside the area, sewage tankers will not able to come in to collect sewage. Six months ago, after requesting Corporation officials roads were laid. But even after this, we got no assistance from Metro Water as they promised,” Preethi, another resident.
In these houses, sewage overflows and floods their kitchen and the rest of the house almost on daily basis. Due to this residents struggle to wash clothes and cook clean food.On the other hand, officials from Metro Water said that by June-end, both Kathivakkam and Thiruvottriyur underground drainage schemes would be commissioned. “Ninety-five per cent of work has been completed in both areas. Pipe-laying work along 200 metres of Kathivakkam project and electricity connection to a treatment plant in the Manali part of the Tiruvottriyur project is pending. As contractors are constantly changing, the schemes have been delayed. But we have been ordered to complete it before July,” said a senior Metro Water official.