Thursday, April 13, 2023

A drain runs through it

The Nandanam Canal is one of the minor storm-water drainways of Chennai city. The total length of these storm-water drains is about 50 km; the Nandanam Canal probably contributes about 2 km to that. In recent years, its length has been slightly truncated because the Chennai Metro diverted a part of it to make way for the underground passage between Saidapet and Nandanam stations. 

We must remember that about a century ago, the entire west side of Mount Road from Anna Flyover to Maraimalai Adigalar Bridge was a large waterbody; so large that the only name they could give it was the "Long Tank". When that was filled up to accommodate Madras' growing need for space, someone forgot to inform the rain Gods of this change of plan. It should therefore be no wonder that the T.Nagar area floods at the slightest of rains. 

This drain is part of a larger system intended to take away some of the floodwaters to the Adyar river. Because they remain dry for the better part of the year, storm-water drains such as these have become filled with effluents and even sewage from residential colonies along their banks.  It certainly cannot be part of anyone's ideal of childhood memories, they way the Nandanam Canal currently is, but it has potential; if only it could be cleaned up, with some spots for children to play along its way, then maybe it will be idyllic, too!

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