Independent monitoring by experts on climate emergency in the master plan sought

20,000 residents in Varadharajapuram and Mudichur area were affected by floods because of a narrow bridge across the Adyar on the Outer Ring Road

September 24, 2022 10:40 pm | Updated 10:40 pm IST - CHENNAI

Residents have demanded an independent monitoring committee to study the data from the survey recently initiated by CMDA for the Third Master Plan.

Residents have demanded vetting by expert committees in multi-sectoral topical issues, addressing climate emergency.

V. Rajasekaran, president of Varadharajapuram Welfare Associations, said the vision for master plan should address the issues of climate emergency, including floods and droughts.

Pointing to the problem caused by floods, Mr. Rajasekaran said 20,000 residents in Varadharajapuram and Mudichur area were affected by floods because of a narrow bridge across the Adyar for the Outer Ring Road, which was designed by CMDA and implemented by the Highways.

The bridge on ORR located between Amutham Nagar in Chengalpattu district and Royappa Nagar in Kancheepuram district has become a barrier for floodwaters in the Adyar river. Water level rose by 13 feet in 2015 floods and three feet in 2021 in Varadharajapuram. 

Urban planning experts said a committee of experts in each sector should address the climate emergency in the city. “We have to look at the potential. When you have floods, you have a solution to your drought. You just have to apply your mind,” said a former urban planning expert in CMDA.

Pointing to the 77% green cover in some European cities, he said the urban heat island effect in Chennai was a problem. 

A few experts stressed the need for a right balance between land use and transportation. Experts stressed the need for adopting some urban planning aspects of cities such as Tokyo for Chennai. 

Harsha Koda, Co-Founder of the Federation of OMR Resident Associations, said the data from the survey should be studied by an independent monitoring committee, comprising bureaucrats and citizens. “This monitoring committee should ensure proper implementation of the recommendations. The survey initiated by CMDA is pretty extensive and insightful. The problem is always with what happens to the data, what we learn from it and how things are implemented.”

“We have seen that citizens’ opinions were not taken seriously by most government bodies. Leaders from RWAs have attended numerous meetings at GCC, the CMWSSB, CMDA but none of the suggestions ever translated into policy documents. A one-size-fits-all approach was adopted in most cases and that was one of the reasons for the failure of most master plans,” said Mr. Koda.

CMDA has initiated a survey last week. 

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