May 28 2020
Ward councillors in Chennai make hay while it rains
13 September 2013

Councillors in added areas are alleged to be making money over septic tanks, soak pits and leach pits that overflow as a result of rains.

Taking cuts from select operators of sewage lorries, they keep others from functioning in their wards. In the process, residents are forced to fork out more and are denied the right to hire a sewage lorry operator of their choice. Sholinganallur, Perungudi, Tiruvottiyur, Manali and Madhavaram are among zones reporting such malpractices.

“We approached a sewage operator for our 50-household apartment recently. He quoted reasonable rates, but refused to clear sewage explaining that the councillor had denied him permission. And so, we paid a higher price for the services of an operator who had been authorised by the councillor,” said a Perungudi resident.

“These operators charge Rs. 1,000 per day for clearing sewage, which is at least 40 per cent more than the regular charge. The operator justifies the inflated bill, saying he pays the councillor Rs. 200 for every trip,” the resident said.

Considering that the number of sewage lorry trips double during the rains, it is big money for these councillors. The majority of councillors in the wards covering East Coast Road and Rajiv Gandhi Salai refused to comment on the issue.

Waste dumped in empty plots

Recently, a few Perungudi residents woke up to unbearable stench. The foul odour emanated from a vacant plot in the neighbourhood, where four sewage lorries had trundled in and dumped sewage.

Operators of these lorries had done this to save the Rs. 100 per load they would have to pay Metrowater had they decanted the sewage in the Perungudi, Nesapakkam and Koyambedu treatment plants.

According to Metrowater sources, only 320 lorries dump sewage at these plants every day. The rest -- constituting a huge group -- dump it in waterbodies and vacant plots, leading to public health hazard.



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