Infra projects to be fast-tracked to boost city’s resilience

Tracking progress: Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi inspecting a canal in Nolambur on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: K. PICHUMANI

Work on major civic infrastructure projects with an expenditure of over ₹100 crore is set to be fast-tracked in various parts of the city.

As part of this initiative, low-lying residential areas such as Madipakkam in the western parts of Pallikaranai marshland are expected to get better drains to improve disaster preparedness in the long term.

The KfW mission, which reached the city on October 18, to assess the situation ahead of funding for the stormwater drain project in Kovalam basin, has reportedly decided to fast track the project.

Tenders for three packages for the western parts of Pallikaranai marshland are expected to be floated next month. Another 15 packages are expected to be fast tracked.

Fiat to officials

At a recent meeting, Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi asked officials to fast-track the essential packages of major projects with an expenditure of over ₹100 crore, to improve the city’s disaster resilience, response, preparedness and liveability. Among these projects are Integrated Storm Water Drain Project in Kosasthalaiyar and Kovalam basins, Intelligent Transport System (ITS) and the Integrated Command and Control Centre.

As the work on various components of the projects is expected to be speeded up, residents’ associations have stressed on the need for proper coordination among all stakeholders and a focus on protecting the interests of residents in each area affected by disaster events in the past.

“Major infrastructure projects should always make our neighbourhood more resilient. We find an improvement in the network of stormwater drains in Chennai after the floods in 2015. More concentration is needed in areas with a risk of disaster. The major projects should improve connectivity of all neighbourhoods even in the event of a disaster. Now, the Corporation has desilted all the stormwater drains ahead of northeast monsoon which has to be well appreciated,” said V. Rajagopal, President, Anna Nagar Western Extension (Phase II) Residents Welfare Association.

Aswathy Dilip, South Asia Director, ITDP, said the major infrastructure projects when implemented would improve the liveability of the city.

Coordination crucial

“The main challenge in the successful implementation lies in the ability to bring coordination and collaboration among different departments in the city. For example, the success of the implementation of the ITS project will depend on its ability to weave in the plans of Metro Rail Phase II project, the mega streets project and the road safety project by Greater Chennai Corporation as well as projects planned by highways along the proposed network,” said Ms. Dilip.

“Every department in the city has years of experience when it comes to implementing any project within its jurisdiction. However, we need processes and systems to ensure that projects that require interdepartmental coordination are implemented seamlessly. It is heartening to see that that Chennai is moving towards this with the revamp of CUMTA in the pipeline,” said Ms. Dilip.

For Kosasthalaiyar stormwater drains, senior officials review the project every fortnight.

“This is a major project which will ensure, in the coming years, that the problem of flooding in the northern areas is mitigated,” said an official. The project is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Drains running to a length of 769 km were being built at an estimate of ₹3,220 crore. The civic body has completed 20% of the drains.

The work will be completed in February 2024.

More than 30 lakh residents of Thiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Kolathur and Ambattur will have a better network of drains once the project was completed.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will fund the intelligent transport system project in Chennai at an estimated cost of ₹957 crore.

The tender will be floated in one month, officials said.

The integrated stormwater drain project in Kovalam basin is expected to be completed by February 2025.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 9:51:17 PM |

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