The Water Resources Department plans to dismantle a few causeways along the Cooum as they are said to be obstructing the water flow and aggravating pollution. The stretch of the river along the Poonamallee High Road has several causeways linking different areas. However, the structures had proved to be disastrous for the river. The department is awaiting funds to dismantle causeways in various localities.
Officials said the causeways in areas such as Kaduvetti near Veeraragavapuram, Thiruverkadu, Velappanchavadi, Adayalampattu near Vanagaram, Maduravoyal and Nolambur hindered the flow of water. They made the stream vulnerable to release of raw sewage and dumping of garbage.
Residents of Velappanchavadi and Thiruverkadu complained that low-level areas such as Shanmuga Nagar along the river faced the threat of flooding as thick cover of water hyacinth obstructed the flow and caused flooding in the neighbourhood.
A.V. Mani, secretary, Thiruverkadu KRSA Residents’ Welfare Association, said vehicles often stopped at the causeways constructed at low level and dumped garbage or sewage into the river. The causeway next to Velappanchavadi bridge could be dismantled as most people stopped using it. Instead, the bridge could be extended for two-way traffic. Moreover, a compound wall was being built on both sides of the river from Kaduvetti. Causeway could be demolished and the wall fencing extended till Velappanchavadi bridge, he said.
Officials said similar issues were common in causeways beneath the Maduravoyal grade separator and Nolambur too. As the garbage and water hyacinth obstructed the flow, water stagnated for nearly 500 metre upstream of the causeways. “We frequently remove water hyacinth in the stretch. But controlling sewage discharge will be the only solution as hyacinth thrived in nutrient-rich polluted water,” said an official. The department plans Tiruvallur district administration and Greater Chennai Corporation to convert causeways into bridges across the river to discourage garbage dumping and discharge of raw sewage.
Officials said similar problems faced in the Adyar near Jaffarkhanpet was resolved after the causeway was dismantled a few years ago.