Madurai: The water channels flowing through the city are cleaned annually by the Madurai corporation as monsoon preparedness, but people dump garbage back into them faster than it is cleared. The corporation has now plans to acquire a robotic excavator for Rs 8 crore to solve the problem.
Corporation commissioner K P Karthikeyan said that the corporation had earlier proposed to purchase an amphibian machine, but the plan was ditched as it was big and it would have been difficult to navigate the narrow channels. Now, they have sent a proposal for a robotic excavator which traverse in narrow channels, climb bridges and is easy to transport. It is being acquired under the Swachh Bharath Mission scheme, with both Central and state government funds. “It would be slightly cheaper than the amphibian machine. The corporation will ask to include five years maintenance,” he said.
The important channels in the city are Panthalkudi channel (2.4km), Vandiyur channel (3.2km) and Thathaneri channel (2.7 km) on the northern side of Vaigai river and Anuppanadi channel (3km), Panaiyur channel (1km) and Sottathatti channel (1km ) on the south side.
Houses along the channels encroach it apart from letting in sewage and dumping garbage into it, which chokes it up. The channels were cleaned and sidewall constructed along it in 2008 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, but that did not bring respite to these channels.
K Hakkim, of Nelpettai said that the corporation should start educating people on keeping the channels clean. “When we tell people to stop dumping garbage into them, they tell us it is already a sewage channel and its purpose is to carry sewage and garbage,” he said.