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PWD to desilt waterways in Chennai

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The heavily clogged Cooum river stretch near Chennai Central railway station will soon be desilted by PWD.
The heavily clogged Cooum river stretch near Chennai Central railway station will soon be desilted by PWD.

K.Lakshmi and Deepa H Ramakrishnan

CHENNAI: With a project to improve micro and macro drains in Chennai with Central funding likely to be delayed, the Water Resources Department will take up works to desilt major waterways before north-east monsoon.

Department officials said that the project to integrate micro and macro drains, which would be implemented along with the Chennai Corporation, was recently approved by the Central government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. As the State government has suggested some changes in the detailed project report, the authorities concerned have submitted a revised project report for State government’s sanction.

Since the tendering process would take a few months, the project is expected to be launched only next year. Stormwater drains and waterways would be integrated and the work taken up after dividing the city into north, central, east and south basins. There will be improvement in the drainages in flood-prone areas such as Velachery, Kolathur, Vyasarpadi, T.Nagar and Kodungaiyur. The project would be completed in three years.

Against this backdrop and in order to prevent flooding, the Water Resources Department has decided to begin desilting operations in various parts of the city by August.

The Department would carry out cleaning operation in Buckingham canal, Veerangal Odai, Velachery drain, Otteri Nullah, Virugambakkam-Arumbakkam Canal and in some stretches of the Cooum and Adyar rivers. Apart from the overgrown vegetation and solid waste dumped in the waterways, blockages in beds would also be cleared.

“We also plan to desilt surplus course of Porur Lake that link to the Adyar river through Manapakkam and Ramapuram areas,” an official said. The Water Resources Department is awaiting State government’s sanction for the estimated cost of Rs.4.8 crore to carry out the work. The desilting operation is executed by the Water Resources Department every year to prevent inundation during monsoon. However, the waterways are often misused for dumping solid waste, including plastic, the officials said. The department plans to complete the cleaning operation by September-end.

The Chennai Corporation, however, is going ahead with the process of constructing 838 km of stormwater drains under the JNNURM. Tenders for the first phase of construction would be floated shortly.

Out of the existing 770 km of stormwater drains, it has desilted 475 km. Drains that have been silted above two m are being initially targeted. Facilities silted up to 1 metre and between 1 metre and 2 metre silt would be taken up soon. The entire operation would be completed by the end of August, a senior official of the civic body said.

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