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And dirty flows the Uyyakondan

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With the underground sewerage system covering just 40% of Trichy, the open drains and canals in the city have long been carrying sewage let out by the residential colonies. The arterial canals passing through the city such as Uyyakondan Canal, Malattaru Channel, Kudamurutti River and Koraiyar River have something in common; all of them have their own varying ratio of sewage carrying on the way. Though all these water bodies have been significantly helping the city to drain its surplus water during heavy rain, public have been showing their gratitude by dumping solid waste and letting out sewage, sullage, and drainage into the 1,000-year old irrigation canal. Absence of proactive measures from district administration and civic body in penalising the offenders is taking the life out of the lifeline of hectors of farmlands in Trichy and Thanjavur districts.
Departing from the course of Cauvery at Pettavaithalai, the 87km Uyyakondan Canal travels 8.4 km stretch within Trichy city, has been touted as a man-made wonder to benefit at least 32,740 acres of cultivable land. Besides, the contour canal recharges about 36 tanks on its course. Uyyakondan (one of the titles of Chola great Raja Raja Cholan) breathes fresh air enroute to Trichy. However, trouble starts flowing into the water body at Allithurai, outskirts of the city. Earlier, Dheeran Nagar was the spot where pollutants entering the canal. However, owing to the rapid expansion of residential areas, drainage has been let into Uyyakondan from Allithurai.
The stretch of the canal passing through the city is visually different from its earlier course by the magnitude of floating plastic waste, hyacinth, and other solid waste. There are 16 identified spots in the city where the canal is polluted with domestic drainage. Near the Lawsons Road, close to the government hospital, waste from commercial establishments near Central bus stand and drainage from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital is merging with Uyyakondan much to the chagrin of the public. But, the authorities turn a blind eye towards this menace. "Several people have been blatantly discharging the sewage waste from their houses to Uyyakondan at Palakkarai and Alwarthope in city. Those who are responsible should be identified and pushed to the wall to set up sanitary system at their houses," S Gunasekar, a resident of Anna Nagar told TOI.
Over a period of time, the solid waste and silt in the water body have led to the growth of weeds and hyacinth, affecting the flow of Uyyakondan towards the ayacut. Though warning sign boards have been placed by the civic body, the warning exists only on the boards as no proactive measures were taken by them.


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