CHENNAI: By March next year, Metro Water will be adding 50 more sewage disposal lorries to its fleet that will cater specially to added areas of Chennai that do not have underground sewage network.
This step comes after many residents from the added areas, especially from OMR corridor, raised complaints about the exorbitant rates charged by private sewage tankers. Presently, Metro Water charges Rs 650 for disposing one load of sewage while private tankers charge Rs 800- Rs 1,000.
Once operational, these tankers will deposit the collected sewage in the decanting facility of Sholinganallur, Perungudi and Nesapakkam treatment plants. Here, sewage from the underground system and sludge got by these tankers will be treated together. Currently, 82 suction and supersucker lorries of Metro Water double up as sewage disposal lorries. There are 367 tankers for collecting sewage from clogged drains and manholes.
The board which is still working on the modalities of the project has decided to employ people who worked previously as manual scavengers as drivers to run the tankers. “We will also hire one member from the families of those persons who died due to manual scavenging,” the official said.
Metro Water officials said this is only an interim measure to help residents dispose sewage at affordable rates until the underground sewage works are completed in added areas. “We are trying to streamline the system of sludge disposal for over a year now. Previous attempts to procure sewage lorries and give them to private companies on a contract basis failed as many did not come forward. But, this time the lorries will be bought and run by the board,” said a senior official.
Residents, especially along OMR, are a frustrated lot as work on laying water and sewage connections have been going on for six years. Officials said in five to six years, all added areas will come under the underground sewage system.