Chennai’s storm water drainage: an underground magic bullet?

Whereas the Larger Chennai Company has launched into an formidable venture of constructing new storm water drains throughout the town in a time that appears unattainable for flood mitigation, residents have expressed hope that the inconvenience within the execution section can be definitely worth the penalties.

Whereas the Larger Chennai Company has launched into an formidable venture of constructing new storm water drains throughout the town in a time that appears unattainable for flood mitigation, residents have expressed hope that the inconvenience within the execution section can be definitely worth the penalties.

Final Tuesday, when residents of Kasturba Nagar’s Fourth Important Highway in Adyar, Chennai got here out of their home, shocked by a loud noise, their dismay on the situation of the highway that they had been constructing for practically a month worsened. Went.

The noise was the results of earthmoving tools disturbing the underground electrical cable. The carriageway is diminished in half, with all the stretch of highway dug on one facet. Many residences are unable to take away their automobiles even in case of medical emergency.

The stormwater drain venture being run at a breathless tempo in lots of locations is inflicting lots of hassle to the residents. , photograph credit score: KV Srinivasan

Nevertheless, residents of this highway are usually not the one ones dealing with this downside, as a whole bunch of streets and roads within the metropolis are in related situation. Roadside work has made it unattainable to journey just a few kilometers in Chennai with out being compelled to take a diversion.

The unprecedented rains and floods within the metropolis final yr prompted the Tamil Nadu authorities to take up the development of storm water drainage as a prime precedence following suggestions submitted by retired IAS officer V. Thirupugazh.

The development work is in full swing by the Larger Chennai Company. Initiatives within the Kosthalaiyar basin (protecting areas corresponding to Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram and components of Madhavaram) and the Kovalam basin (protecting the southernmost areas of Chennai) are anticipated to be accomplished solely by 2024.

Stormwater drain work in progress at Dr. Besant Road, Ice House, Triplicane on August 26, 2022.

Stormwater drain work in progress at Dr. Besant Highway, Ice Home, Triplicane on August 26, 2022. photograph credit score: KV Srinivasan

Nevertheless, the GCC has launched an formidable plan to finish the work within the Koom and Adyar basins, protecting central and south Chennai, by this September, earlier than the onset of the northeast monsoon. Officers imagine that the work, which ought to have taken no less than 12 months to finish, is being focused to be accomplished in 4 to 5 months.


The breathless venture being run at many locations has brought on lots of inconvenience to the residents. In some locations, industrial enterprises have complained of their closure attributable to lack of entry to their outlets or the digging of roads in entrance.

One of many frequent issues confronted in development is unintentional disturbances of sewer strains, ingesting water strains and energy cables. Just lately, residents of a number of localities in Velachery and Adyar complained about stagnation of sewage in trenches dug for storm water drainage for a number of days.

Sewer strains had been additionally punctured at locations like Vembuliamman Koil Road in KK Nagar and Arunachalam Road in Saligramam. A piece of Anna Important Highway in KK Nagar, which is already vulnerable to frequent caverns attributable to numerous causes together with outdated sewer strains, additionally has water strains near the stormwater drain beneath development.

At some locations, officers of the Chennai Metropolitan Water Provide and Sewerage Board mentioned that there was a requirement for re-creation of stormwater drain alignments because the slender lanes fell alongside the ingesting water pipelines. No less than 20 locations have confronted the issue of both damaging the utility strains or realigning the alignment, he mentioned.

Site visitors jams have change into frequent on many roads. For instance, E. Ravi, a resident of MGR Nagar, mentioned that roads like Rajamannar Salai, Ponnambalam Salai and RK Shanmugam Salai in Kekenagar are vulnerable to site visitors jams within the night. So do Dr. Ranga Highway, TTK Highway and CP Ramaswamy Highway in Teynampet Zone.

A site visitors police official mentioned the town’s roads have been used to their most capability, declaring that any additional discount within the carriageway would undoubtedly have an effect on the motion of site visitors. “Congestion at one place could have a domino impact, resulting in congestion at close by junctions and sometimes resulting in jams,” the official mentioned.

Residents have expressed concern over the sluggish tempo of labor. For instance, work is underway close to Seethamal Colony in Teynampet, one of many worst-hit areas throughout final yr’s rains.

A resident of Vijaya Nagar North Extension in Velachery, N. Shivakumar mentioned the trenches dug within the space had been left open with none work for a number of days. Comparable considerations have been expressed by residents of Kasturba Nagar in Adyar.

Whereas members of the general public are ready to bear the inconvenience within the quick time period, given the significance of flood mitigation, there are considerations about whether or not the venture will ship outcomes.

Will it work?

For instance, for the reason that inception of the venture, residents of Besant Nagar have expressed concern over the necessity for stormwater drainage manufactured from concrete as the realm has sandy soils into which water can seep quickly. Following their considerations, the GCC has stopped work within the space and has determined to construct punching pits at common intervals. Residents of East Coast Highway have raised related objections.

Meera Ravikumar, a resident of Gandhi Nagar in Adyar, questioned whether or not the civic physique did due diligence in every avenue, together with its locality, which had by no means skilled main floods prior to now. He additionally expressed concern over the shortage of sufficient session with residents.

When the venture was began, residents of Tiruvalluvarpet close to Mandaveli had been involved that the alignment of the drain had gone in opposition to the pure slope of the locality. Comparable considerations have been raised by residents of another areas as properly.

One other main concern raised by residents of some localities is the extent of stormwater drainage being greater than the highway stage, which makes one marvel how the water from the highway will enter the drain.

Kalpana Jayakumar of KK Nagar mentioned that the alignment in her space seems to be at a excessive stage. “We’re involved whether or not water will be capable to drain out of our condominium advanced,” she mentioned. Abhiramipuram Residents Welfare Affiliation secretary S. Nachiappan mentioned that the storm water drains being constructed within the space weren’t uniform.

N Venkataramani, an aged man from Aziz Nagar in Kodambakkam, who labored as a civil engineer for 38 years, mentioned the drains, although massive, can’t perform until the slope, gravity, form and sea stage are adjusted. is just not taken into consideration. Whereas the design could have been correctly reviewed and appeared good on paper, he expressed concern concerning the efficiency of labor by decrease stage employees day and evening with out insufficient supervision.

“The chief minister has sanctioned crores of rupees which can actually go to waste if the venture is just not applied correctly,” mentioned Mr. Venkataramani, who’s visiting authorities officers to elucidate his considerations.

Individuals are troubled by the reducing of bushes in lots of areas. Whereas the civic physique has taken precautions and averted felling of bushes in lots of areas by altering the alignment of the drain, digging near the bushes has left a lot of them in precarious situation. No less than two such bushes have fallen in Adyar just lately. A tree fell close to the work website in KK Nagar in June, ensuing within the loss of life of a financial institution worker. Nevertheless, GCC denied that the tree fell was attributable to work.

Ms. Ravikumar mentioned that many bushes have been reduce in KK Nagar, which is understood for its tree-laden paths. “There was no session with the residents. Most of those bushes are very outdated. We’re shedding treasured inexperienced cowl,” she mentioned.

to handle considerations

The desk in GCC Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi’s workplace in his workplace is filled with paperwork, maps and evaluation stories on flood mitigation initiatives, indicating the deal with them. in a candid dialog with Hindu, He admitted that the venture has brought on inconvenience to the individuals. However the inconvenience within the quick time period, he mentioned, was the necessity to develop a long-term answer to the floods, with excessive rainfall occasions turning into extra frequent.

Addressing the considerations over the design and implementation of the venture, he mentioned that the design has been reviewed at numerous ranges. Whereas the design for conduit in minor roads and lanes was dealt with by GCC engineers, the designs of main roads, particularly these subjected to excessive flooding, had been examined by pc simulations and reviewed by IIT Madras. .

With sewer and energy strains getting disrupted at some locations, he mentioned that he has issued detailed circulars directing the officers on the zonal stage to repeatedly coordinate with their counterparts of the road departments to make sure synergy and thus to forestall recurrence of points. Nevertheless, on just a few events, officers and even non-public Web suppliers, who’ve optical fiber underground, had been unclear concerning the precise alignment till a disruption occurred. Such points are addressed promptly in coordination with the departments involved. He mentioned that detailed directions have additionally been given to make sure safety on the margins by placing up barricades.

Pointing to colour-coded maps displaying the phases of implementation of the venture, he mentioned that each the tempo and high quality of labor are being monitored repeatedly. Highlighting that he was reviewing the progress twice every week, he mentioned Municipal Administration and Water Provide Division Secretary Shiv Das Meena, Municipal Administration and Water Provide Minister KN Nehru, Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu and Progress was additionally repeatedly reviewed by the Chief. Minister MK Stalin himself.

So far as felling of bushes is anxious, he mentioned that he pays particular consideration that not a single tree was reduce until mandatory. Highlighting that the civic physique was specializing in tree plantation and didn’t need to lose the inexperienced cowl, he mentioned that he had requested the officers to method the inexperienced committee to get approval if the bushes are to be felled. Do it. “Even when the venture is delayed, we need to observe due course of,” he mentioned. In locations the place land close to bushes was dug up, officers had been requested to chop branches to cut back the chance of them falling.

Aside from development of drains, GCC is endeavor siltation work of current drains at a value of about 70 crores. He mentioned the work was began 5 months again and is on the best way to be utterly completed earlier than monsoon. He mentioned that the work of desilting the vital Mambalam canal to keep away from floods in T Nagar space has additionally been accomplished.

With the Kosthalaiyar and Kovalam basin stormwater drain initiatives to be accomplished within the subsequent two to a few years, Mr Bedi expressed confidence that round 80% work within the remaining areas could be accomplished by September.

He mentioned work in main flood inclined areas like Seethammal Colony and a few areas of Pulianthope and Kolathur could be accomplished by September. The work which can be pending in small roads and alleys can be accomplished quickly.

Undoubtedly, all of the inconvenience the residents at the moment are inflicting would appear value it, even perhaps forgotten, and provided that, this northeast monsoon would not overwhelm the town once more.

, Of. Lakshmi, Aloysius Xavier Lopez, and R. With inputs from Sivaraman,

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