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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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Sewage removal issue dominates Ambattur Council meet

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, JULY 30. Residents of the Ambattur Municipality are unhappy over the local body's `indifference' to removal of sewage from individual households. The only sewer lorry catering for the entire municipality has broken down, leading to severe problems in many areas.

The Municipality officials confirmed that the lorry was in a state of disrepair for about a month. It catered for about 25,000 households. A few private parties are offering their services, but at a premium.

Depending upon the capacity of the septic tank, the private parties charge between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,500 for cleaning up the tank. The size and location of the house is also taken into account, said Ms. Uma Kanthan, CPI councillor. ``Twelve streets in my ward (Korattur) do not have underground sewerage connection and the families are suffering,'' she added.

The Municipality Council meeting, which was held today, was dominated by a discussion on this issue. Councillors, cutting across party lines, demanded immediate action by the authorities.

Ms. Gopika, a resident of Ambattur O.T. area, said a private party, who was summoned to clear the septic tank in her house, charged Rs. 2,500.

However, things are somewhat better in some areas including major parts of Korattur, Mogappair East and West and JJ Nagar connected by an underground drainage system.

The officials said a tender had been floated for the repair of the lorry and the vehicle would be back in service in a month. They were also contemplating regulation of the rates charged by private parties. Introduction of night service was also being considered.

By contrast, in the neighbouring Avadi Municipal area, the authorities have pressed into service three lorries to remove the filth from the common sewer cess pool. Removal of sewage from households has been entrusted to a contractor who charges a minimum of Rs. 400 depending upon the capacity of the tank, the officials added.

Yet another issue that rocked the meeting was the ``non- functioning of walkie-talkies given to conservancy staff.'' Most councillors alleged that the handsets were inferior in quality. The Municipality was paying an annual rental fee of Rs. 6.5 lakhs.

When a resolution on digging of 12 borewells in various parts of the township to meet the prevailing water scarcity came up, the councillors demanded that the Chairman use his offices and get the work executed fast. The Chairman, however, said procedures had to be followed, and that it would take a few days' time.

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