Projects affected as labourers have been detained in various places: Corporation

Even as the civic body races against time to complete stormwater drain work in the city before the northeast monsoon, a new problem has presented itself.

Strong-arm tactics by the police have brought to a grinding halt the construction of drains under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Citing hindrance to traffic movement, the police have detained several contract labourers engaged in various works across the city. Around 105 municipal works are underway in the city.

Concerned with the rise in the number of Corporation contract workers being detained by the police, the Chennai Corporation has asked the State government to intervene.

A few months ago, the Mayor had to get involved after over 10 workers were detained in Anna Nagar.

Senior officials of the municipal administration and water supply department held a meeting with the police and Chennai Corporation officials on Tuesday.

After extending the deadline for the JNNURM-funded stormwater drain work in the city several times, last month, the Corporation decided to terminate the contract on many stretches. The civic body will resume the work after a detailed study.

The watersheds where a revised project report has been prepared include the Cooum, Adyar, Central Buckingham Canal, Chellamal College Canal, MGR Canal and Jafferkhanpet Canal.

Work on key stretches such as Gandhi Irwin Road, Egmore High Road, Nelson Manickam Road, Anna Salai, Poonamallee High Road, Arunachalam Street, Anna Nagar Second Avenue, Mayor Ramanathan Salai, Casa Major Road, Raja Annamalai Salai, Kodambakkam High Road, Swami Sivananda Salai and Sterling Road has been terminated.

Of the 98 projects in the Cooum watershed, only 22 have been completed. As many as 52 projects were terminated because of traffic police restrictions.

The original deadline for completion of facilities that drain into the Cooum was October 28, 2010. The civic body has now extended the deadline for some of the works to September 8, 2013.

The civic body terminated work on stretches such as Velachery Main Road, Gandhi Nagar Main Road, Taluk Office Road, Gandhi Mandapam Salai, Ashok Pillar Road, 100-ft Road and Santhome High Road as the contractor was unable to complete 65 percent of the work in the Adyar watershed.

The police do not permit contractors to carry out civic development works during the day in order to avoid disruption to traffic. At night, the police have been detaining workers citing law and order concerns.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, the police agreed to permit the Chennai Corporation to carry out stormwater drain work during the day too. However, it will be subject to fulfilment of certain conditions by the Corporation, the police said.

More In: Chennai | News