The project to improve the major canals in the city as part of the flood mitigation measures has been commissioned recently, Public Works Department Principal Secretary S. Ramasundaram said here on Thursday.

He was speaking at the workshop on ‘Flood risk mapping of Chennai city and its suburbs using Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping technology’ organised at the Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS), Anna University.

The project worth Rs.2.13 crore, which covered 500 sq.km. of Chennai metropolitan area, was funded by PWD and Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Work has already begun at the North and South Buckingham canal. Of the nearly Rs.1,448 crore sanctioned to improve city’s micro and macro drainages under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Chennai Corporation has began work to construct storm water drain.

The Water Resources Department would improve the existing canals and construct link canals at a cost of Rs.633 crore. The flood mitigation project at Cauvery delta region would also commence in few days, said Mr. Ramasundaram.

On the workshop, he said the population density in urban areas is 1,000 times more than rural areas, which results in severe impact during flood. Use of advanced scientific technologies would help in execution of flood mitigation projects.

Mr M. Ramalingam, director of IRS, Anna University, said nearly 756 pockets prone to inundation have been identified under the flood risk mapping project. These are within the 36 flood prone areas, including Choolai, Tondiarpet, Ice House and Velachery, identified by the Corporation.

The data collected would be used to identify sites for artificial recharge instead of discharging flood water to the sea and to prepare thematic maps such as roads and water bodies for the use of different government agencies, he said.

Mr G.Behera, Deputy Director of National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, said such projects would be helpful to develop guidelines and plan development activities according to the land forms.

Some of the project recommendations include sustained opening of river mouths of Cooum and Adyar throughout the year and lowering of river bed by desilting. A manual on geomorphology was also released at the workshop that was attended by representatives of various government departments. Anna University registrar S. Shanmugavel also spoke.

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