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Construction of culverts begins across Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Radial Road

K. Manikandan

This follows an order of the Madras High Court passed last year

TAMBARAM: The Chennai City Roads division of the State Highways Department has started building three culverts across the Pallavaram - Thoraipakkam Radial Road following an order of the Madras High Court passed last year.

The Exnora Innovators’ Club of Pallavaram had approached the High Court, pointing to incidents threatening the environment around the Pallavaram Lake or ‘Periya Eri.’

Once a sprawling water body, it had shrunk due to encroachments and the Radial Road had split the lake into two.

Being an elevated road, a huge quantity of mud was dumped when it was laid and facilities were not created for flow of water from one side to the other, going against the natural “water balance.”

The petition pointed to the dumping and burning of garbage, discharge of raw sewage into the lake and called for protecting this water body.

The High Court constituted an expert committee to study the lake and come up with remedial measures. Apart from suggesting the construction of culverts, the committee said garbage dumping and sewage discharge had to be stopped. Following the court orders, Pallavaram Municipality installed boards warning people not to dump garbage on road sides, especially near the lake.

Work orders sanctioned

But, the menace continued discreetly. Maintenance of this Radial Road, which was under the Saidapet Sub Division of Tiruvallur Division, was handed over to Chennai City Roads in May this year and during perusal of pending projects, officials noticed that culverts had to be built. Tenders were floated and work orders were sanctioned recently.

Officials said the road width was 22 metres, but they were constructing 45-metre-wide culverts as there was scope for road widening. The 6-metre high culverts were being built in 3 locations at a combined cost of Rs.30 lakh under the Comprehensive Road Infrastructure Development Programme.

Objective

The objective of the 10.2-km long road laid by the State Highways Department in 2000 at a cost of about Rs.12 crore was to link Grand Southern Trunk Road at Pallavaram with Rajiv Gandhi Salai (formerly Old Mamallapuram Road).

It attracted a lot of flak from environmentalists when it was laid, as apart from this lake, water bodies in Keelkattalai, Narayanapuram and Pallikaranai were virtually split into two.

Environmentalists said that instead of laying an elevated surface road, they could have constructed a bridge similar to the one on Chennai Bypass over the Porur Lake.

Officials said they expected to complete the work before monsoon and hoped that with the construction of the culverts, the fears of environmentalists would be allayed.

Three similar culverts at a cost of Rs.88 lakh each on this road between the Pallikaranai intersection and Thoraipakkam have been completed with financial assistance from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Two culverts at a cost of Rs.2 crore each on Velachery Main Road near Pallikaranai have been sanctioned under CRIDP.

While work on one of them has started, a tender has been floated for the other, officials added.

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