By Srishti Sinha
Chennai: The restoration and cleaning of the Buckingham canal in the city has been promised by the state government for the past two years. Yet, the canal remains dirty till date.
There has been an accumulation and formation of froth on the surface of the canal water. The froth formation has been going on for over eight years. The residents along the canal blame the industries and the industries blame the residents.
The canal runs for about 10kms in the south of the city of Chennai, Perungudi being one of the most affected areas as the canal is adjacent to the Industrial estate. Major automobile companies like Mercedes Benz, Ford and Maruti have their service centers in the industrial estate. Small scrap and hardware shops are present too.
Mr. Veer Raj, service manager at the Ford service center said, “We are treating our water before we let it out. The waste water is sent to the ETP plant and the treated and untreated water are taken away by two separate tankers.” When he was asked about the froth formation, he hinted that the chemical factories in the estate might be responsible for the formation.
The staff at the Maruti service center too stated that their water was being treated. But, this was not so for small scale companies like Rangnath Scrapers. This small scrap shop’s owner Ranganath said “I am not very rich like the big companies, thus I am not in a position to get my waste water treated before being disposed. I find it easier to dispose it into the canal, for I have seen companies doing it for years now.”
On the other side of the canal is a residential area, it has over 1000 houses. There are families who have seen the canal going from clean to unbearable. Few residents believe that the reason for the canal’s filth is because of the Perungudi sewage system.
“We have been living here for a long time; I do not believe that it is just the industries that are responsible for the canal becoming dirty. Few of us throw our garbage into the canal and also the waste water from our homes goes into the canal” Rajesh a final year automation engineer from a government college said.
There have been cases of diseases and allergies as mosquitoes bread in large numbers here. And in the recent past a seven – year – old boy drowned in the canal and his body was recovered after two days, covered in muck and dirt. According to the residents of the area they were not able to decide if it was a boy or one of the old sacks thrown into the canal.