Dug-up drains pose serious risk
Project delays, failure to cordon off incomplete facilities add to danger
Many roads that have been dug up for developing ‘missing links’ in stormwater drains have become ‘death traps’ because of the delay in the project and the failure of the authorities to cordon off the incomplete stormwater drains.
The Chennai Corporation started cordoning off dug-up drains in 2011 after an incomplete drain claimed the life of a 24-year-old woman on North Usman Road in T.Nagar.
Ahead of the the northeast monsoon last year, the Corporation decided to take up “missing links” in stormwater drain network in 335 locations that were flooded in 2015.
The northeast monsoon has ended but the Corporation has not been able to complete work on stormwater drains in 206 locations across the city, posing a risk to pedestrians and motorists.
A. Dandapani, a resident of Egmore, said pedestrians were getting injured by falling in the dug-up drains near Gengu Reddy Subway along Poonamallee High Road.
In Kodambakkam, ThiruVi-Ka Nagar, Anna Nagar and Teynampet zones, the stormwater drain works have been completed on many streets. “We have completed work at 44 locations. Over 85 drains are yet to be taken up. We have strictly instructed the contractors to ensure barricading at all work sites and instructed our staff to monitor them very closely. The project team also ensures these safety aspects. If there any specific complaints with regard to any work, we will get them corrected,” said an official.
At the Purasawalkam High Road - Millers Road junction, work on stormwater drains has led to traffic congestion for the past two months as it has been taken up on both sides on an alternative basis. The junction is one of the easily flooded areas in the locality and the work has often led to slush thrown out on the road.
With the ongoing work, the Corporation has cordoned off about 30% of the road, leading to congestion as the traffic splits three ways at the junction, say road users. Also, pedestrians find it tough to walk on the reduced platform on one side and are in danger of being hit by heavy vehicles, especially MTC buses that sometimes are driven dangerously. Many interior roads in Kilpauk have also been dug up, which pose a risk to motorists at night due to lack of illumination of the work sites despite the presence of street lights.
Egmore MLA K.S. Ravichandran said that the fullfledged work on drains has stopped in many areas in his constituency.
Roadside peril: Barricades are not proper at many sites, such as this one on the Poonamalee High Road.