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Projects postponed for polls set to resume city pulse

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SET FOR start: Work on construction of a canal to link the Veerangal Odai with the Pallikaranai Marsh will soon be taken up.
SET FOR start: Work on construction of a canal to link the Veerangal Odai with the Pallikaranai Marsh will soon be taken up.

City Bureau

Chennai Corporation is holding department-wise review meetings to speed up pending works

CHENNAI: After the mandatory halt during the Lok Sabha elections, work on re-laying a number of roads, construction of stormwater drains under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) at an estimated cost of Rs. 800 crore and widening and deepening of several canals are set to begin, with tenders getting readied for these projects.

Mayor M. Subramanian said: “After the code of conduct came to an end, we have been holding department-wise review meetings to speed up pending work.” He said that with Corporation officials being wrapped up in election-related work, infrastructure projects involving construction and even routine road repair works had slowed down.

Several works under the Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) programme for this year will be taken up shortly, he added. In the first phase of the BSUP, paving of roads with concrete will be taken up on 169 roads. Already work on 1,127 roads has been completed. Similarly work on developing 16 parks and installation of 33 streetlights is being taken up.

A Corporation official said that the entire civic body has been asked to speed up these works. Calling of tenders for the proposed annexe to the Ripon Building at an estimated cost of Rs. 19 crore, which has been delayed, will be expedited.

K. Ramadoss, president, North Chennai District Exnora, said that the four-laning of Ayanavaram Road that connects Medavakkam Tank Road to New Avadi Road could not be taken up due to the elections. “Elections are crucial but they must not cause stoppage of infrastructure works. The Elections and Census Departments could be clubbed into one and more staff recruited so that other routine work does not get affected,” he suggested.

An official of the Public Works Department (PWD) said that the Lok Sabha elections have delayed the launch of the construction of macro- and micro-canals under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission (JNNURM) by at least two months. The official said that the three-year project which should have taken off in June this year has been postponed and has been re-scheduled to start only in August. However, he said, the work has been rescheduled with no cost overrun.

Going into the details of the project, the official said that the JNNURM drainage scheme conceived to prevent flooding in the Chennai Metropolitan area has been divided into four watershed basins of North, Central, East and South. Under the project, being taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.1,447.91 crore, the PWD’s share was Rs. 633.03 crore for construction of macro-canals.

Under the macro-canal project, Porur Tank would be deepened and widened and culverts constructed to absorb excess water. The PWD has proposed to construct channels to route the water flowing from Veerangal Odai, a canal carrying rain water from various parts of Alandur, GST Road, Nanganallur and Adambakkam, to Pallikaranai Marshland and provide a straight cut to divert the excess rain water from Buckingham Canal to the sea. A channel would be constructed along Taramani Link Road to divert surplus water from the Velacherry Lake to the Buckingham Canal.

Likewise, improvement works at Virugambakkam Canal, Arumbakkam Canal, Maduravoyal Tank, Kolathur Tank, Otteri Nullah and Madhavaram Tank have been proposed under the scheme. The official said that all canals would be deepened and widened, along with removal of encroachments.

S. Kumararaja, secretary, Federation of Velachery Residents Welfare Association, wanted the JNNURM project to be started at the earliest to protect Velachery and its neighbouring areas from flooding.

Mr. Kumararaja reminded that with the State government denying flood relief to a large section of flood-affected people last year, the residents wanted the various drainage projects under the JNNURM scheme to take off before the next monsoon.

(With inputs from R.Srikanth, Deepa H. Ramakrishnan and Shakthi Manickavasagam)

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