Chennai

In the western suburbs, discontent simmers

Among the more shocking images of last year’s floods were those of vast tracts of land submerged, with just the roofs of buildings visible. Many of these areas were in Anakaputhur, Mudichur and Varadarajapuram in the western suburbs of the city.

For the residents of these areas, the very thought of another monsoon is daunting for they believe that the efforts of governmental agencies in preventing further flooding have at best been half-hearted.

Some of the residents of Mudichur and Varadharajapuram have decided to escalate the issue, and will stage a token fast on September 11, protesting against the failure of the district administration and PWD to widen and strengthen the bunds of the Adyar. “These areas were among the worst-affected in the city,” recalled V. Rajasekaran, president of Federation of Varadharajapuram Welfare Associations.

Despite the loss of life and destruction of property in the floods, the Public Works Department has allotted a mere Rs. 7 crore for removing obstructions and weeds in the Adyar river, which is grossly inadequate, say residents. “ With barely a month left for the onset of the monsoon, no major work has been taken up by the PWD on the Adyar ,” said S. Alamelu, a resident from Shanti Nagar, Anakaputhur.

The residents claimed that except for identifying encroachments, the government has done nothing to help those affected. “Some of us did not event get the flood relief amount of Rs. 5,000,” she said. C. Sekar, president of the clusters, said, “ Many of us have had to start our lives from scratch.”

Pointing to the petitions given to the Kancheepuram district collector and the secretaries of the PWD and revenue departments, residents said that they had demanded dredging, widening and strengthening of the Adyar river bunds from the point of origin (end of Aadhanur canal at Manimangalam) till Kishkinta.

Mudichur panchayat president P. Damodaran said that the protest was aimed at highlighting the inaction of the PWD. “After the floods, the PWD actively removed encroachments for about a month. But it was not followed up,” he said, noting that encroachments were not removed in the canal beyond Aadhanur and Manimangalam.

A PWD official said that normally, the government allots Rs. 3 crore for pre-monsoon works. “But this year, Rs. 10 crore was allotted, of which Rs 7 crore was sanctioned for the Adyar river,” the official noted.

He added that the department had already removed six to seven critical obstructions on the river to ensure free flow of water. “We will carry out temporary work before the onset of monsoon,” he said.

When asked why the deepening and strengthening of bunds were not taken up, the official said that they had prepared a proposal for the permanent restoration of the Adyar at a cost of Rs. 180 crore. “Formulation of a proposal would take some time as they have to study various aspects. We will take up the work in March after the getting the funds,” he said.

Meanwhile, there is just the small issue of an intervening monsoon and possible flooding.


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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 10:01:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/In-the-western-suburbs-discontent-simmers/article14625182.ece

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