Buckingham Canal: Complaints go unheard

MANJIRI CHITRE

Chennai's largest Canal has been in an extreme poor condition for years causing foul smell and diseases.
The Buckingham Canal at Indira Nagar | Manjiri Chitre

CHENNAI: The city’s largest Canal, the Buckingham Canal, has been in an extreme poor condition for years. Residents of Indira Nagar have complained about the foul smell, and mosquito breeding, which has led to an increase in diseases.

The Buckingham Canal connects three rivers that cut across Chennai. These are the Kosathalaiyar River in the North, Cooum River in the Central Zone, and Adyar River in the South. The canal was primarily constructed as a navigation channel, although is mainly used for managing flood water, and ensuring tidal balance.

During the 2015 floods, the Buckingham Canal’s water had overflowed and destroyed houses nearby. “When the canal had overflowed during the floods, our entire house was destroyed with the filthy water from the canal,” said Suvarna P, who lives opposite to the Canal. She added that the street was stinking.

Residents opposite the canal have complained about the foul smell and mosquito breeding to the Corporation. However, there has been no response, they said.  

Behind the Indira Nagar Railway Station is controlled by the Railway authorities, except for the Canal. The authorities have refused to look into the matter. “We are not concerned with the Canal as it does not come under our jurisdiction. The State Government is responsible for the cleaning. Although, it has remained dirty for a long time,” said a Senior Railway Official, who wished to remain anonymous.

A Senior Corporation Officer who does not wish to be disclosed said, “We are only responsible for the de-silting of the canal. Otherwise, the Public Works Departments (PWD) is responsible for looking after the Canal.” The PWD officials were unavailable for a comment.

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