When it rains in Tamil Nadu (and that’s not very often) it comes in massive bursts. The water comes in such huge volumes and meets with such dry, packed ground, that it often has no-where to go. It sits in low lying places, forming massive puddles, often turning into lakes. As the weather dries up – which it does as quickly as the rain came – the water gradually recedes, sinking into the ground to recharge the water table. In low lying areas, this can take a long time.
The Banyan’s Protected Community is built just outside Kovalam. It sits in a dip in the ground, rather like a bowl. The water table is very close to the surface. So, when it rains, there is literally no-where for the water to go. It collects in the compound, not just from above but also from neighbours!
We’ve been quite lucky with rains over the past few years, but even then, come Monsoon Season, we have had to abandon the Protected Community, packing the residents and their belongings in buses and transporting them to marriage halls and the like until the Community dries out.
This issue reached a critical point last year, when water started to mix with power cables.
Earlier this year, we approached the team at Tata Realty And Infrastructure Limited (TRIL), who are currently building one of the largest IT Special Economic Zones in the city – Ramanujan City on the OMR. We were connected to them through our friends at the Ratan Tata Trusts and they were keen to get involved. Looking at their key strength in infrastructure we asked them if they could help us with this perennial flooding problem. After several months of discussions with their senior team, TRIL agreed to sort out the problems, once and for all in 2 phases.
For the next 5-6 weeks, the team will be at the Protected Community to conduct phase 1, renovating the sewage lines, installing storm water management systems and raising the level of the ground so that we can wave goodbye to our flooding issues.
On 3 October, the team from TRIL conducted a puja to inaugurate the works. We hope that the rain gods smile on them and that they can complete the first phase before the Monsoon really appears!
In February, they will return to the site to complete phase 2, waterproofing the cottages, so that not only will the compound not flood, the residents will stay dry in their homes.
A heartfelt thank you to all at TRIL, especially Mr C Velan (CEO), Mr Naved, Mr Senthilkumar, Mr Navas and all of their teams! A special thanks also to our contact in Tata, Mr Sumit Guha, who is pushing all of the local Tata related firms to respond to The Banyan’s need.
We sincerely hope that this will be the last time we have to evacuate the Protected Community because of the weather!
– David Nash, CEO, The Banyan
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