CHENNAI: For almost a decade now, sewage and wastewater from small-scale industries located on Pillaiyar Koil Street in Thalambur have been flowing into an open piece of private land. This stagnating pool of dirty water has raised serious concerns and fears of a disease outbreak among 600-odd families living in the neighbourhood, especially with numerous dengue cases being reported across the city.
Not just that. With waste being continuously let out, there is a threat of it overflowing into the ‘Nalla Thanni Kulam’, a temple tank that once served as the drinking water source for the village. This can be very destructive as the tank, spread over 15 grounds, is being used like a harvesting system, with nearby residential areas channelling the runoff rainwater there.
“The water in the tank is already slightly contaminated, because a few weeks ago, some people cut a path for the sewage to reach the tank. They did not want the sewage to overflow into their homes. Then, we raised the issue with panchayat officials and blocked the flow,” said M Mohammed Iqbal, a resident.
When Express visited the spot, the stagnated sewage was merely a stone’s throw from the pond, ready to flow into it once it rains. It covers the entire width between Rajiv Gandhi Street and Pillayar Koil Street. “Sewage from the residential areas is negligible; it comes mostly from small-scale businesses within the area,” said H Mohanarangan, a resident. Close to the open space filled with sewage, his house was flooded up to two feet during 2015 rain, he said.
After several complaints and an article in the Express a month ago, panchayat officials deployed workers to divert the sewage last month. The road was dug up and pipes were brought to the spot. However, the next day, the road was closed again and the workers have not showed up since, said residents. The pipes lie unused by the side of the road today. “ We raised the issue in the Gram Sabha, but no action has been taken so far,” said Muthusamy T, a resident. Panchayat authorities also issued notices warning residents against releasing sewage into the open plot but in vain. When contacted, officials said they would look into it.