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Storm water drain project irks residents

Karthik Madhavan

Trees are cut, pathway blocked, telephone lines damaged, they say

photo: k. ananthan

Residents say the way storm water drain is being constructed in Bharathi Park area will do them more damage than good. –

COIMBATORE: Even before it can convey water, the storm water drain the Corporation is constructing in the residential locality near Bharathi Park seems to be carrying trouble.

The residents complain that the civic body, in the process of laying the drainage system, has damaged the telephone connections, water supply lines, power cables and is threatening the cut trees.

They say that the work has also forced them to park their cars outside, on the road for over two months now.

Suman Sachdev, a resident, fears that in case of an emergency she may not be able to take her 85-year-old grandfather with ease out of the house because of the moat-like formation, caused by the digging. “It will be difficult to cross over to the road.”

Her other problems include damaged telephone line and the loss of greenery. “Most of the residents of the five main roads and eight cross roads have invested quite a bit of money and time greening the area with trees and ornamental plants. And they do not want to lose that.”

A. Shanmugasundaram, a resident of the Bharathi Park Second Street, is also worried about the fate of the trees in the area.

“The locality is the green area of Coimbatore, a tag which the Corporation is trying to uproot by felling or cutting trees. It is unacceptable because we, the residents, bought water during drought to water the trees.”

In several places the trees are right on the path of construction. And, at other places the roots intercept the canal, he says, and wants to know how the Corporation will go about laying the concrete bed and brick lining.

Pointing to an old storm water drain, which he says was constructed about six years ago, he asks if the new drain is going to go the way the old drain is, why spend money. The old drain is damaged and clogged with fallen leaves and twigs.

Sumitra Shetty, another resident, laments that there is no solution in sight to the residents' problem because the work that was started three months ago remains unattended.

“Wherever the workers encountered problem, they have left it at that and moved over to the next spot. There are many such spots like that in the Bharathi Park area.”

The workers who use earthmovers have damaged compound walls, gate at many places. Something needs to be done to protect the trees and the properties, she says and adds that the residents' association representatives have written to the Corporation in that regard.

Bharathi Park Ladies' Association president Deepa Balaji says they have asked the Commissioner Anshul Mishra to ensure that the drain work does not damage the trees and after the completion of work the drains are covered to prevent falling leaves from chocking the sewerage system. A senior Corporation official says that the residents' apprehensions are misplaced. Storm water drain will carry only rain water and not sewage, trees will not be disturbed and work will be completed soon.

Wherever trees come in the way of construction, the Corporation has instructed the workers to bypass them and proceed with the work without much of a disturbance. The trees' presence is in fact beneficial as it will observe the running the water.

The officer also says that the work will soon be completed at places where the earth work has begun. And at other places it will start after the Model Code of Conduct is lifted. The Corporation, as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission project, is constructing storm water drain lines across the city at Rs. 180 crore.

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