Weeks after a sinkhole opened up due to heavy rains triggered by Cyclone Michaung on Kasturi Rangan 3rd street, off Chennai’s arterial Cathedral Road, repair work is proceeding at a snail’s pace. The sinkhole had appeared at a construction site belonging to a private eye hospital at Kasturi Rangan 3rd Street on December 4. A resident said a portion of their compound wall has collapsed and their sewage line has been severely damaged due to the impact, which in turn caused a backflow. Due to this, they have been unable to use the toilets or their running water supply, forcing them to live elsewhere.
On the day the sinkhole was formed, residents had contacted Thousand Lights MLA Dr Ezhilan under whose jurisdiction Cathedral Road falls. At the time, the MLA told TNM that access to the area has been secured with barricades to prevent accidents.
Currently, the water from the hole has been drained, but removal of debris, iron, steel girders, and even an autorickshaw that had fallen into it is still ongoing. A crane is being used to remove the debris, but given the scale of the sinkhole and lack of proper access for machine operators, work is slow.
An area resident recalled witnessing a transformer go down amid waterlogging around 2pm on December 4, after which workers from the construction site came running out. They soon realised a sinkhole of about 20 feet deep had opened up in the area. It took down compound walls of neighbouring houses, an autorickshaw, and a small temple. Another resident said that their metro water pipeline was also damaged.
Speaking to TNM, the Greater Chennai Corporation’s (GCC) Zone 9 assistant engineer said, “The repair work is being undertaken by the Agarwal Hospital. They will fill up the hole with wet mix and once it is level with the road, it will be topped off with concrete. Currently the filling up process is underway.”