CHENNAI: With the Northeast monsoon almost here, poor management of sewage and waterbodies in the southern suburbs of the city is giving sleepless nights to the residents in these areas. In Madambakkam, although the Madambakkam lake bund was strengthened recently, residents said the 240-acre waterbody has not been desilted for almost 40 years. As a result, the depth of the lake which was originally 11 metres, has reduced drastically, making it only below road level.
“The stormwater drains carry sewage and with culverts blocked with garbage, there is no way for floodwater to drain. There are several chokepoints such as Padmavathi Nagar and Parvathi Nagar where water stagnates,” said A Krishnan, member of Save Madambakkam Lake Committee.
The lack of inter-connectivity between the lakes also results in these areas getting flooded even during moderate rains. The Selaiyur lake, for instance, is already brimming mainly due to sewage. In the event of heavy rains, the lake will overflow. The surplus from the lake is connected to a small temporary pond that is barely able to contain the maximum flood discharge of 628 cusec. This leads to flooding in Chitlapakkam, where a cut-and-cover drain notwithstanding, residents were met with water entering their homes last year.
In Pallavaram, monsoon preparedness measures were carried out last year but nothing has been done this year, said residents. Last year, inlet channels to Pallavaram periya eri and stormwater drains in Radha Nagar and the market area were desilted after several years. While restoration of the Pallavaram lake has been taken up at a cost of `14 crores and the municipality claiming that biomining is completed, legacy waste remains.
“Around 7-8 feet of solid waste has not been cleared yet,” said David Manohar, a civic activist and resident of Pallavaram. The flood retaining wall, taken up at a cost of `16.7 crore, has not been completed yet due to encroachments along the way, leaving residents of Sunnambu Kolathur prone to floods. Sabari Sundar, a resident of Varadharajapuram in Mudichur said little has changed since the 2015 floods. “Our houses continue to get flooded. No improvement works have been taken up in interior roads since then,” he said