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Clean canal first, beautification next: residents

Deceptive green: Thick vegetation of water hyacinth choking on a stretch of Uyyakondan canal near Varaganeri in Tiruchi.

Months after the Corporation announced that preliminary work for the riverfront development along the Uyyakondan canal had begun, the waterbody itself remains neglected.

The Tiruchi Corporation announced that ₹17.5 crore had been allocated for the beautification of the canal which continues to be an important source of irrigation. Prevention of drains and sewage being let out into the canal, dumping of garbage, public parks and landscaping, open-air gyms, setting up of infrastructure for social gatherings would form Uyyakondan waterfront development project, it is learnt.

However, residents and volunteer collectives, who conduct regular clean-ups along the canal, claim that the canal which is unclean and choked by water hyacinth must be cleaned before being beautified. “We welcome the plan and hope that it comes to fruition soon, but the corporation must also look at treatment of waste water which is being let into the canal,” said Manoj D., a volunteer of Citizens for Uyyakondan, a group involved in conducting regular clean-up drives along the canal.

He said sewage must be treated before being let into the canal. This would help enable the canal to come back to life. The forum has approached the district administration with a plan to treat sewage water, seeking government support to help revive the canal.

Insisting that the development plan included the waterbody and not just the banks, Corporation Commissioner N. Ravichandran said that development of the 2.6 km stretch of the 8.7 km long Uyyakondan canal would be completed in six to nine months. Along with the riverfront amenities, bio-fencing would be laid to prevent littering, he added.

A Namakkal-based construction agency has been roped in to set up three parks, and retaining walls are to be constructed for a length of 585 meters along the canal under the project. Stone benches, new roads and pavements are among other features to be included on the stretch between the bridge on the Anna Nagar Link Road to Chettipalam bridge near MGR roundabout.

Efforts were also on to provide underground drainage connections to residences and apartment complexes situated near Uyyakondan Canal to ensure greywater (all wastewater generated without faecal contamination) is not mixed with water in the canal or with stormwater drains. Those buildings which were not connected to the network would be included under the comprehensive underground drainage system (UGDS) which was being done in a phased manner, said a source at the Corporation

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