Corpn. speeds up flood mitigation work
CM makes a spot inspection in Velachery; Bedi sets October 10 deadline to complete the work
The Greater Chennai Corporation has advanced the deadline for the completion of work on monsoon preparedness in the city. Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi has ordered officials to complete the work before October 10 so that the city was well prepared for the onset of the northeast monsoon this year.
Of the 4,254 stretches of stormwater drains identified, desilting had been completed on 3,076 stretches. Over 14,000 silt catch pits, which were an interface between the road and stormwater drains, were being cleared for the first time, the officials said.
Despite initiatives to mitigate flooding in the past few years, monsoon remains a nightmare for people in many areas.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has started inspecting monsoon preparedness work.
While a number of spot inspections had been done by senior officials such as Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu and Municipal Administration and Water Supply Secretary Shiv Das Meena in the last few days, residents had been flagging the issues on social media.
Vidyasagar Jagadeesan of Pallikaranai tweeted: “Bedi Sir, please come to ward 189 too to check. Low-lying areas at the fag end of Tulukkanathamman Kovil Street in Pallikaranai are flooded during rains. Have to wait for a month to get the water drained.”
CM visits Velachery
On Saturday, groups of residents gathered at various locations to request the Chief Minister to speed up completion of projects and initiatives to mitigate flooding.
Velachery residents said they submitted a petition to the security personnel of the Chief Minister on Saturday during his inspection, requesting a permanent solution to the problem of flooding that affected 50,000 people. They also cited absence of a “proper planned permanent system” to drain water to Veerangal Odai.
At present, the Corporation has made temporary arrangements for a 100 Hp pump to drain water into the canal. The residents have sought a direct road to 100 feet road through AGS Colony Fourth Main Road in ward 177.
Residents stressed the need for restoration of Pallikaranai marshland to prevent flooding by reducing the area used for dumping waste. More than 200 acres of marshland had been used to dump waste. Although the Corporation had announced that the dumping of waste would be stopped by December 2020, it had not been done.
“Pallikaranai marshland should be preserved as it acts as a sponge and if there are any obstructions in the flow of water from the marshland to Buckingham Canal, they have to be removed periodically by the Forest Department to ensure not only the retention of water in the marshland, but also to enable quicker free flow of additional or excess water to Buckingham Canal,” said Geetha Ganesh, secretary of Velachery AGS Colony Residents’ Welfare Association.
Residents of areas such as Egmore had demanded infrastructure projects by other civic agencies to reduce waterlogging.
For instance, the stretch of Poonamallee High Road near Police Commissioner’s Office and Vepery Sub-Registrar Office was prone to flooding during rainy season. The officials had been unable to solve this problem as it involved coordination with Highways Department and Southern Railway.
Need for culverts
The government order of September 13 giving administrative sanction of ₹392.16 crore to flood mitigation work by the Highways and Minor Ports Department in various parts of the State is expected to facilitate the construction of permanent pipe culverts and other drains to prevent flooding in such locations.
Egmore MLA I. Paranthaman said the Corporation officials and the Highway officials planned to complete the work on Poonamallee High Road before the onset of the monsoon. “Work on the additional culvert across the railway track in Egmore and lead drain will be taken up at a cost of ₹2.9 crore,” he said. Culverts and drains would be built in at least 27 locations along the highways in Chennai to mitigate flooding in residential areas.
The work includes construction of additional culverts across the railway tracks near Whannels Road, across Grand Northern Trunk Road, Grand Southern Trunk Road, Marmalong Bridge Irumbuliyur Road and Tambaram-Mudichur-Sriperumbudur Road.
Officials are planning to organise a coordination meeting of various departments to speed up such projects ahead of the onset of the northeast monsoon.