KARAIKAL: WHILE cities and towns in Tamil Nadu get flooded even after a moderate shower, Karaikal town, once ruled by the French, is amazing visitors with its rainwater drainage. When the area recorded a 65 cm rainfall last Saturday, water on P K Road drained out in one-and-a-half hours.
While the southern and northern boundaries of Karaikal district witnessed floodwaters in Porayar, Sirkazhi, Thalainayar and Sembanarkoil blocks from Nagapattinam district, Karaikal did not face such issues either in urban or rural areas.According to Public Works Department (PWD) officials of Karaikal district, the magic is all because of the marvellous town planning ideas and solid infrastructure built by the French, who held sway in Puducherry UT from the 16th century to 1954.
Speaking to Express, A Rajendran, Executive Engineer, Buildings and Roads Division, Circle III (Karaikal), PWD, Puducherry said, “When the French ruled Puducherry, they did not hesitate to set up towns such as Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam and Chandragasi. All roads and streets are in a straight line, which is not the case in Tamil Nadu. Alongside the straight roads and streets, the French created drainage lines.”
“We have a local colloquial proverb that says the British are good in lawmaking and the French is best in architecture and infrastructure. While in Tamil Nadu, there are U-type canals, the French rulers gave us L-shaped canals. With the U-type, the canal would be like a tunnel and drainage takes time. In case of L-shaped canals, water drains out quickly,” he said.
Speaking about Karaikal’s drainage, he said, “Almost 60 percent of the present drainage system was built by the French and the rest by us. We designed our drainage canals based on French benchmarks. The French influence is replicated by our PWD.”
“Thalatheru canal, Karaikal canal, Arasalaru drainage canal and Grand canal are the four canals passing through the city, which directly connect with the small drainage paths in Karaikal town. In rural areas, irrigation and drainage canals are well connected to the Nandalaru, Vanjiar, Nattar, Thirumalairajan, Pravadaiyan, Arasalaru and Noolaru rivers, which traverse 83 km in the district,” Rajendran said.
Speaking to Express, D Sudhakar, Commissioner, Karaikal Municipality, said, “We deployed 85 workers to desilt all drainage canals before the monsoon. Three to four workers have worked in each ward.”