With the objective of preventing the flow of municipal sewage from Mettupalayam town into River Bhavani, the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board has undertaken the underground drainage work.
This should have brought cheer to the residents, who have been fighting for long to have UGD. But, it has not as they are concerned about the quality of work.
The residents say neither the TWAD Board nor the contractors executing the work on its behalf have placed boards informing the residents of the details of work, when it has started, when it will end and the funding pattern.
The residents also want the TWAD Board to inform the residents of the road to be taken up for digging so that they are not caught surprised at the start of the day.
It is not just about the work schedule but quality of materials used and construction as well, says former municipal chairman D. Satheesh Kumar. The UGD chambers that the TWAD Board has constructed appear to be of poor quality because of the change in the ratio of mixing sand and cement.
It is also about curing the constructed chambers, says activist and Gandhipuram resident A.P. Varadharajan. Given the near lack of supervision, there is hardly any curing taking place. At this rate, the residents fear that the underground structures will not last long, sewage will seep into the earth and as a consequence road will also get damaged.
Mr. Kumar also points to the pipeline to be buried for conveying the sewage. The contractors appear to have bought pipelines manufactured at least 10 years ago, thus raising fear in the mind of the residents about their longevity.
Given the fact that the UGD scheme is designed to serve the town for at least 30 years or more, the TWAD Board engineers should ensure quality of materials used and also construction.
In fact, the board should come forward to join hands with the town’s residents by forming a monitoring committee to oversee the work, what with a contractor engaged in the work coming under the Directorate of Vigilance Anti-Corruption radar for a work carried out in another part of the State.
Board sources say that there is no issue about the quality of construction and a team of board engineers along with those from the agency funding the project are monitoring the work.
The board is executing the work at ₹91.7 crore.
It will lay pipeline for 350 km to collect nearly nine million litre sewage the town generates a day and take it to a treatment plant of the same capacity. As part of the UGD work, the board will also construct more than 3,300 manholes, of which it has already completed nearly 400 manholes.