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Garbage continues to be dumped in Pudupet, Naduvankarai and Aminjikarai

The government has managed to clean up the Cooum river inside the city after decades, but the riverside is fast turning out to be a dumpyard at certain stretches.

Under the Cooum river eco-restoration project, the Water Resources Department (WRD) has desilted and widened nearly 15 km of the waterway in the city limits.

However, stretches of the waterway, particularly near Pudupet, Naduvankarai and Aminjikarai, have been, of late, turned into dumping spaces.

Besides garbage, scrap material of old vehicles are also dumped along the river on South Cooum River Road, Pudupet. Though it was cleaned a few times, the space soon becomes a dumping site.

Paucity of funds

Now, the WRD plans to seek the Greater Chennai Corporation’s support to tackle the issue due to paucity of funds.

“The river is only 40 m wide in some areas such as Aminjikarai and is 240 m wide in other places like Koyambedu. It is important to restore the river as per the revenue records of 1904 and 1911. This will help restore the original width of the river,” said an official.

Though desilting has been carried out, the river continues to carry raw sewage. Plugging of sewage outfalls to prevent pollution of raw sewage is another major challenge for a clean river. The work to construct modular sewage treatment plants along the river is yet to begin, officials said.

Meanwhile, the department is planning to resume its drive to clear encroachments from next week. Some of the encroachments will be removed in areas such as Pallavan Nagar, Chintadripet. Of the nearly 14,000 identified along the river, nearly 8,500 structures have been removed so far. About 120 commercial structures in Aminjikarai and Poonamallee High Road need to be cleared along the waterway.

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