Saidapet Cooum after yesterday’s rains

The water level in Saidapet Cooum (Adyar River) has risen significantly over the last two days. The slums on the banks are already beginning to flood. Every year, I see this happening failing to understand why people still dwell there. I am not thinking about idealistic crap like “why cant they live in homes like we do.”. My thoughts are more on the lines of – “In anycase thosse are illegal establishments. Why can’t they *illegally* establish themselves elsewhere?”. Atleast they can avoid risking lives like this.

Saidapet Cooum - 1
The saidapet bridge and the partially submerged slums

Saidapet Cooum - 2
The railway bridge and the guindy industrial estate bridge in the background. The bridge is background is almost on the verge of submerging.

One a sidenote: Now that the rain waters are filling up the streets, all the waste and sewages are flowing out of the drainages. Everytime you step out on to the streets remember to wash my feet with dettol. One can see animal wastes floating in the water and its absolutely disgusting. Also, one can notice that a lot more pot holes have surfaced in the roads since day before yesterday. All the patch up works done by the PWD workers seem to be washed away by the rain waters. I wonder how long we will have to wait before the roads are repaired again.

12 Comments so far

  1. Prabhu (unregistered) on October 29th, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

    Do you kow that most of the Nanganallur ‘Posh’ apartments and houses were built on a lake. Why dont you seek demolition of them?
    Or for that matter, Lakeview road in Mambalam, Lake Area in Valluvar Kottam were all lakes taken away by the rich and mighty who procured illegal pattas.
    Why cant the rich ‘legally’ move their backs to somewhere, knowing well that they occupied a natural reaource…and they can afford it.
    You should be thankful that these poor slum dwellers have temporary shanties near the river and not criminally take away natural rainwater catchment areas like their rich fellows.
    Lets see the shit on our shirt before looking at the shit of person who cant even afford one.

  2. udayms (unregistered) on October 29th, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

    @Prabhu: I guess my use of the word *illegal* has been read in the wrong sense. My point was simple. The dwellers of the Saidapet cooum slums do not own that land. My query was whether they can move to some place thats safer than the saidapet cooum. I am more concerned about the safety of the humans living in those inhumane conditions. It’s anyway illegal. So, does it really matter if its in saidapet or somewhere near the outskirts of the city.

  3. Pisipati Sriram (unregistered) on October 29th, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

    Water level rises in any river, canal or lake during floods and heavy rains. Regular desilting of canals helps in preventing flooding and submersion of adjoining areas. Often due to encroachments on canal and river banks, desilting becomes difficult. When dwellings are built on river, canal and lake beds and bunds, they get submerged during heavy rains and in floods when the canals receive heavy inflows and normal passage of water faces obstructions.

    Flooding and submersions are more in canal crisscrossed cities and towns with rampant encroachment of bunds and canal beds.

    Due to pressure on land in cities and towns, canal and lake bunds are encroached and many times even pucca structures are built. Authorities, whether irrrigation or whoever is incharge of maintenace of canal and river systems find themselves in a ticklish situation due to political overtones.

    Encroachment of river and lake beds and bunds continue and so do flooding and submersions whenever there are floods and heavy rains, with the water overflowing and inundating surrounding habitations.

  4. PlaneMad (unregistered) on October 29th, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

    And more importantly its not the Saidapet Coovum, its the Adyar River ;)

  5. foo (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 2:26 am

    Thanks Planemad. Calling the Adyar river the “Saidapet Cooum” smacks of geographical immaturity, like calling the Godavari the “Andhra Mississippi”.

  6. Ram (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 7:37 am

    Dilip – Cooum does not run in Saidapet, unless you have named Adyar as Cooum because of the likeness !! At one time even T’Nagar was a lake as detailed by Tiru Vi.Ka. in his biography — he used to walk from house in Royapettah to the Lake area in and around the present Teynampet – which he also describes as present T’Nagar. It is a fact that most lakes have become residences now but this is inevitable as people do not have places to live and every available inch is converted !!

  7. Ram (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 7:40 am

    Sorry Udayms I addressed you as Dilip!

  8. udayms (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 9:49 am

    Hi Ram,PlaneMad, Foo:
    I work in an office located in Temple Steps which is right beside the Saidapet bridge. So, my office overlooks the Adyar river. In the last one year that I have been in this office, I have never heard anybody call this river by any name other than “Saidapet Cooum”. Though, I do know that originally it is Adyar river (I realized this only when I was reading wikipedia), I almost believed that the term “Saidapet Cooum” is a widely accepted slang. Just like “Maraimalai Adigal Bridge” is called “Saidapet Bridge”.

    Then again, I agree that maybe I should have also mentioned the term Adyar Bridge somehwere. So, am editing the post and adding this. :)


  9. Ravi (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 10:57 am

    Udayms : You must educate your colleagues ..

  10. santosh (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 11:56 am

    i think its adyar and not coovum which runs under the saidapet bridge

  11. santosh (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

    link to an old map of chennai…interesting to see that many of the “hot” areas were once lakes

  12. 0pini0nmine (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

    The second photo reminded me of the River Thames in London. If only our politicians did something about it, our Cooum could be Chennai’s River Thames.

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