The Greater Chennai Corporation laid new storm water drains on this road, taking over 1.5 years to complete the task. Yet, the road's condition does not seem to have improved.

Chennais pothole-ridden PS Sivaswamy Salai road still a nightmare for residentsAll images by Anjana Shekar
news Infrastructure Monday, September 02, 2019 - 14:43

Take Diversion is a series by TNM that closely tracks the plight of roads in Chennai city and suburbs. If you have a story to share, write to us We will ensure that your story reaches the authorities.

The PS Sivaswamy Salai in Chennai’s Mylapore area that runs from Vivekananda College to the Royapettah High Road is an important bus route road (BRR) on which several buses like 12 B, 29 C, etc. ply. This road has plenty of shops and houses on either side with residential streets branching off it.

Yet, this road is a pothole-ridden stretch that floods even for the lightest rain. During the 2015 Chennai floods, PS Sivaswamy Salai was one among the worst hit roads in the city. In spite of the works undertaken by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to lay storm water drains (SWD) and to fix its footpath, the road continues to be a bumpy ride for all, not to mention the still poorly functioning drainage system.

In May 2017, the GCC had dug deep ditches right outside people’s homes, on either side of the road, for storm water drains, without prior information to the residents. While this move irked people, things got worse when two buildings collapsed due to the work.

What aggravated matters was that this work which was supposed to be completed in three months was finished only towards the end of 2018, more than 1.5 years later. Even then, not just residents but motorists’ woes continue on this side of PS Sivaswamy Salai.

Surender, who has been running a Mirudangam shop on this road, recalls how his small workshop used to flood every monsoon. “Water used to enter our space always. 2015 was worse,” he tells us.

But has the situation improved? “Can’t really say. Will know only when the monsoon begins this year,” he reasons.

62-year-old AK Umapathy, who runs an electrical shop just next to his house, sits on a chair outside his shop. As someone who has been living in the area for over five generations, supply of drinking water, especially after the laying of the SWD, has become worse. “We reported foul smell emanating from the water to the corporation authorities. We now buy cans for cooking and drinking and use bore well water for other purposes. They haven’t done their job properly. The storm water drain has messed up the sewage and drinking water line,” he explains to us with a worried look on his face.

Newspapers too reported highly contaminated water pouring out from taps in these houses. Umapathy points to the end of the road and says, “I am not sure even those SWDs have been properly laid. Even for the short spells of rain we recently had, water did not drain out as it should have.”

Umapathy also adds that this incomplete work will only block the drains and will result in clogging. “People just drop debris here and if the work is not completed fully, it will only cause more problems,” he says.

As for the road, inspite of being fixed less than six months ago, it has developed potholes making it difficult for motorists and other vehicles. Karunakaran, an auto driver, whose stand is in the area, says he avoids parking his auto at the stand during rainy days. “In fact you won’t be able to enter the road when it rains. Even on a normal day, the road itself is a bumpy ride with all these potholes. Some work or the other keeps happening here,” he tells us. 

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