Sadayankuppam residents waits for a bridge
Chennai: For residents in and around Sadayankuppam, it is a life and death struggle to get out of their homes to place of safety whenever their area is marooned. Surrounded by Buckingham Canal and Puzhal Surplus Canal, the only way-out for residents during floods is rescue by boats.Their decades long demand for a bridge across Buckingham canal remains unfulfilled as the government failed to complete the half-constructed structure.
The overflowing water from Puzhal Surplus Canal and B-Canal flooded Sadayankuppam, Burma Nagar and Irula Colony affecting over 1,000 families living there. “We were forced to stay in the rooftop after water level rose to 10 feet. We were staying in thatched roof cover with the hope of the rescue by the government,” said Balraj, a resident of
Sadayankuppam, after rescued by National Disaster Response Force. He said they waited for boats to rescue for three days without any food due to swirling waters. Ramesh, another resident, said they themselves would have moved to a safer place had the government completed the the bridge across Buckingham canal. “We have been demanding the government to complete the bridge work which began in 2010,” he said.
For residents of Sadayankuppam, the temporary iron pedestrian bridge across the Puzhal Surplus Canal is the easiest way to reach a bus stand. “The temporary bridge had been washed away several times in the floods in the past. And the two kilometre long road leading to the bridge is prone to heavy water logging,” said Saraswathi, a construction worker living in Burma Nagar.
Foundation for the Rs 16. 46 crore bridge was laid by the then deputy chief minister M. K. Stalin in August 2010. “The estimate for constructing a bridge was prepared by AIADMK government during 2001-06. But the work contract was issued in August 2010 by the previous DMK government,” CPI (M) leader and former Tiruvottiyur municipal chairman V. Jayaraman told DC after distributing food packets to the local people who were temporarily shifted to a building at Sathangadu. However, the contractor stopped the work after constructing the main bridge structure across the canal citing rising cost of construction materials, he said. Besides, a company located along the canal bank refused to part with poromboke land claiming that it possessed patta for it, he pointed out. He noted that had the bridge been completed, people would have moved out on their own. He said residents of Manali New Town, Burma Nagar and Sadayankuppam would greatly benefit from the bridge. “It would save them at least 4 km of travel,” he said. Efforts to contact highways department officials for comments proved futile.
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