Monday, Oct 27, 2003
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By K. Lakshmi
Corporation workers clearing the sludge in the rainwater harvesting structure at the Mylapore Kapaleeswarar temple tank on Sunday. - Photo : S. Thanthoni
Following a directive from the Chief Minister, the Corporation and Metrowater officials inspected the site, this morning. A team of about 20 workers were involved in cleaning up the sullage stagnated in a corner of the tank for the last couple of days.
The officials found after media reports that the discharge of the sewage into the tank was due to the stormwater drain getting an inflow of sewage on North Mada Street. The Assistant Commissioner (Zone 10), C. Bhoominathan, said that this happened during the laying of the sewer main line on Ramakrishna Mutt Road under the multi-crore Chennai City River Conservation Project (CCRCP) a couple of days ago.
According to Metrowater officials, the water from various parts of the area was routed through 110 stormwater drains including ones from Mandaveli Street and Venkatesa Agraharam into the temple tank. The tank and temple tower together area a symbol of the city. The problem is stated to have occurred when both the existing sewer pipeline and the stormwater drain on Ramakrishna Mutt Road were "damaged" during the laying of a new sewer main line as part of the project.
Though the flushing out operation was carried out, the stagnated sewage could have seeped into the tank through the damaged stormwater drain from RK Mutt Road, a Metrowater official said. The problem in the sewer main line has been rectified, he added.
Residents in many localities have been complaining that Metrowater's response mechanism to complaints of sewage overflow has been slow, and sometimes, so delayed that it leads to pollution.
The Corporation officials said that the work on desilting the tank and the stormwater drains in the area, which was discontinued due to rain would be completed in about a week.
About the poor maintenance of the tank, the ward 147 councillor, Lakshmi Suresh (BJP), said action should be taken to ensure the cleanliness in and around the tank and implement more rainwater-harvesting facilities in the tank so as to recharge the ground water in the area. She recalled a project when the rainwater from the Thirumayilai railway station, which was earlier discharged into the Buckingham canal was linked into the tank through a pipeline from North Mada Street. This project was completed at a cost of about Rs.10 lakhs two years ago, she said.
Deployment of security personnel in the corners of the tank to maintain cleanliness would be suggested to the temple authorities, she added.
The danger of sewage seeping into groundwater through rainwater harvesting structures, witnessed in the temple tank incident, has been raised by some residents, who said failure of agencies like the Corporation and Metrowater could have serious public health consequences.
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