Putheri Canal faces threat
The Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam link road which connects the suburbs to the IT corridor has seen immense development in the last five years. But how sustainable and eco-friendly is the development?
The bifurcation of the lakes along the stretch by the road has revealed tangible ecological consequences but the burgeoning of residential complexes along the road might have far more disastrous effects, it is pointed out.
The Putheri canal, outlet of the lake, runs parallel to the link road until it reaches the Keelkattalai lake further down the stretch. This canal might soon disappear with most of the lands it runs through coming under real estate.
Every monsoon, this canal is a life saver for residents of Chromepet by preventing the Putheri lake from flooding the area. But, if residential complexes block its path, the area will be inundated.
“Twenty years ago this was a fertile agricultural land and rice was cultivated,” says Muthu, an old-timer. The decrease in fertility due to effluents from a nearby factory and increase in land prices had prompted farmers to sell the land to what Muthu calls “political functionaries” who in turn benefitted from further spike in land prices and sold them to real estate developers.
Today, three real estate developers are at various stages of construction along this stretch. One of them is a massive 40-acre residential complex with more 3000 apartments by Prestige Group which will have the Putheri canal running through its backyard.
Locals fear that the canal flow will be hindered and people living outside the upscale complex will bear the brunt of inundation as water will flow back downstream.
“The once agricultural land along the Pallavaram Link Road has many small ponds and a canal passing through. Real estate developers will invariably change the topography of the landscape to reap maximum benefits. People outside these posh complexes will face the consequences,” said David Manohar, an activist with Arappor Iyakkam.
“We will only know what Pelican Drive will look like in January,” he said. When asked about the possibility of a compound wall which might stop the flow of water in the canal, he refused to comment.
“Chennai learnt the importance of interlinking channels which help drain water only after the floods of 2015. Disregarding environment and unplanned constructions will have disastrous effects in the long run,” said Karen Coelho, Assistant professor at Madras
Town planning officer of Pallavaram Municipality, G Sivakumar, refused to comment on the issue.