Chennai

KfW defends funding for SWD project

No going back: KfW replied to the residents along the areas on East Coast Road that the stormwater drain project was essential to mitigate impact of climate change.   | Photo Credit: KARUNAKARAN M

Residents along East Coast Road plan to meet at the weekend to discuss the future course of action on the construction of an integrated stormwater drain network. This follows a response from KfW, the German Development Bank and the project funding agency, which said the project was essential to prepare Chennai for environmental and urbanisation challenges.

Residents’ welfare associations along the ECR have been opposing the project covering the areas between Kottivakkam and Uthandi, arguing that the project would hinder groundwater recharge.

They have made representations to several organisations to halt the project that is being executed by the Greater Chennai Corporation.

Bank’s response

Responding to their complaint, Carolin Gassner, director, South Asia, and Rainer Sunnen, principal portfolio manager, KfW, wrote to the associations that the project was assessed in depth before financial agreements were signed. Their environmental and social impact had also been reviewed.

Following the concerns raised by residents, the project was reviewed again and discussed with the Greater Chennai Corporation. Ms. Gassner said although the localities were along the seashore and of sandy soil formation, there would be more flooding for two reasons: degree of urbanisation and climate change due to which extreme rainfall events were on the rise.

The project design had incorporated several elements to allow only excess run-off to the sea, and rainwater harvesting blocks would be installed at 20 locations.

On questions about coastal regulation zone clearance and the environmental impact on aquifers, the KfW said responses had been submitted to the National Green Tribunal. It was awaiting a decision from the NGT on how to proceed on the issues in early March.

KfW had invited residents to provide suggestions for the project implementation through the proposed consultative committee. It asked them to register complaints directly with the GCC.

Residents of Palavakkam said the work had been halted at many places and trenches closed at some sites, including Palkalai Nagar.

“We are waiting for the next hearing at the NGT in early March. We plan to discuss the measures at a meeting shortly,” said a resident.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 6:22:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/kfw-defends-funding-for-swd-project-along-ecr/article33945731.ece

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