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PWD shells out 4 lakh annually to keep Uyakkondan free of weeds

THE butterfly effect is a concept that says small causes can have large effects. This could be applicable to the Uyyakondan Canal passing through the heart of the city. Either intentionally or unintentionally, households and commercial complexes situated along the banks of the Uyykon-dan and discharging domestic sewerage are annually forcing the PWD to spend at least Rs 4 lakhs to clear aquatic weeds. Once a major water canal, it has now become just another drainage canal in the city. Since the Corporation has not been penalising offenders who discharge sewerage into the water body, fuelling the growth of aquatic weeds, the PWD from its maintenance grant has been spending huge amounts to clear the weeds blocking the free flow of water. The weeds have also led to in-creasing the mosquito menace. Departing from the course of the Cauvery and marking its own from Pettavaithalai, the 70-km-long Uyyakondan Canal, in-
cluding a 9-km stretch within city limits, has been touted as a manmade wonder to benefit at least 33,000 acres of cultivable lands in Tiruchy and Thanjavur districts, besides recharging the groundwater table. The same ca-nal, now sporting a polluted mantle, was once successfully recharging as many as 330 water bodies on its course till Vazhavanthankottai near Tiruverumbur from where it was recently extended till Budalur in Thanjavur district. Though history portrays the might of the Uyyakondan, residents near the canal are blatantly discharging their domestic sewage without paying any at-tention to the board erected by the Corporation warning against such activity. Owing to the presence of sewerage, PWD officials said float-ing vegetation has been blanketing the stretch of the Uyyakondan in Alwarthope, Palakkarai, Edatheru and also near Anna Nagar Link Road. Speaking to Express, a PWD official said, 'Ahead of the monsoons, to en-sure free flow of water through Uyyakondan to ayacutdars, we are clearing floating vegetation. Annually, we are spending a minimum of Rs 4 lakh from the maintenance grant, which could be saved if the civic body acts tough against residents dis-
charging sewerage into a fresh-water body." Since the sewerage, which includes some solid waste, has piled up as sludge underwater, aquatic weeds are taking root, making it difficult for manual removal. "The stagnant drainage has been fanning the mosquito menace in the nearby residential locality. Residents are unaware they are the reason for the increasing mosquito menace in their locality as they are dis-charging domestic waste into a freshwater body" the PWD official said. Sources said the cleaning drive that was launched by the PWD with a dozen workers and heavy machinery on Tuesday would go on for another three weeks, covering a stretch of Uyyakondan Canalfrom Periyamilaguparai (near the district collectorate) till Senthanneerpuram Corporation officials claimed that awareness is lack-ing among residents on keeping Uyyakondan Canal dean and added violations are being dealt with by the civic body.

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