Taking cognisance of complaints that untreated sewage from hospitals was being let into the Uyyakondan canal in the city, Collector S. Sivarasu has directed Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials to test samples of the canal water.
Speaking at a meeting of the Uyyakondan Protection Committee here on Friday, he said the TNPCB should collect and test water samples and it must be ensured that untreated sewage from government and private hospitals was not let into it. If there was any violation, strict action should be taken against the offenders, he said.
Mr. Sivarasu directed the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in Puthur to follow up and take steps to execute at the earliest a proposal on establishing a waste water treatment plant at an estimate of 203 crore already forwarded to the government.
He instructed Corporation officials to expedite provision of underground sewer connections and erection of treatment plants along the six-km city stretch of the canal. A few years back, the officials identified 34 places where sewage flowed into the canal and assured to take steps to plug them.
Even though civic officials say work was underway to connect houses along the canal to the underground sewage network, the Corporation has not been able to totally stop sewage flow into the canal. Mr. Sivarasu urged the civic body to expedite the work and complete it before next summer, a release said.
Open drains and household sewage continues to flow directly into the canal even after the Public Works Department executed a rehabilitation project sanctioned by the State government at an estimate of 11.50 crore.
Pointing that the Corporation has taken up a riverfront development plan along the canal under the Smart Cities Mission programme, Mr. Sivarasu suggested that the canal could be desilted under kudimaramathu scheme in the next financial year, and assured to pursue the matter with the government.
The Collector requested the PWD, Corporation and Forest officials to conduct a joint inspection of the canal banks in the city and strengthen the pathways wherever necessary.
Steps should be taken to install strong steel grills along the banks to prevent dumping of solid waste by the public into the waterbody. The grills should be installed on the stormwater drains that flow into the canal near Chettipalam to prevent solid wastes mixing into the water. He directed the officials to remove all encroachments along the canal banks.
The Uyyakondan canal runs for 71 km from Pettavaithalai to Vazhavanthankottai and has an ayacut of 32,000 acres and feeds 36 tanks. It is subject to heavy urban pollution on its city stretch between Palakkarai and Ariyamangalam,
In 2014, voluntary organisations launched a campaign to clean the urban stretch and raise awareness against letting sewage into the canal. The district administration and the Corporation bolstered the initiative by forming Uyyakondan Protection Committee comprising officials and representatives of civic organisations to take forward the conservation initiatives.