A revamped Chennai River Restoration Trust is likely to focus on the Adyar river too

The State government has decided to merge the Cooum Sub-basin Restoration and Management with the Chennai River Restoration Trust (CRRT) — a move that is expected to focus on eco-restoration of Adyar river along with the Cooum. An order to this effect was passed earlier this week.

The new administrative set up in the CRRT, comprising experts in hydrology and water resources and armed with more teeth in the area of monitoring, is expected to start functioning shortly. It will focus on restoration management activity in the Adyar because there is no ready data so far regarding sewage outfalls and encroachments along the river. As far as the Cooum is concerned, data collection on solid waste dumping and sewage outfall has been completed from Koyambedu to the mouth of the river.

Even though the previous State government signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) in 2010 to promote and facilitate cooperation and collaboration in restoration, beautification and management of the Cooum, the Adyar river was ignored in the restoration management initiative of Chennai's waterways. Only the restoration of first phase of Adyar creek covering 58 acres was taken up.

The conspicuous works on Cooum restoration in the past included the plugging of sewage outfalls caused by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation near Pallavan Salai, by the Railways at Basin Bridge, Egmore and also the MRTS stretch along the Buckingham Canal.

After the merger, the CRRT is expected to commence monitoring of the dumping of solid waste and illegal sewage outfalls by local bodies in the two rivers. As major infrastructure projects along the Adyar are likely to be taken up, the CRRT will also monitor any degradation of the river during construction activities.

Grievances of residents pertaining to violations of the natural course of the river due to work of other government agencies such as the Public Works Department are also likely to be redressed by the CRRT. The emphasis on improvements to rivers in the city has been provided for in the second master plan of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, which recommended a sequence of actions for river conservation including flood mitigation, prevention of pollution and removal of encroachments.

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