Chennai

Pending projects leave city at risk

Preparedness for northeast monsoon has been compromised by unfinished work

The risk of flooding in the city seems on the rise as key line agencies have failed to address a number of civic issues reported ahead of the onset of the northeast monsoon. A number of complaints were reported by civic officials at the last monsoon preparedness meeting with line agencies on Friday.

“More than 80 civic issues caused by various line agencies have increased the risk of flooding this monsoon,” said an official, who participated in the meeting.

The civic body had set a deadline of October 20 for the completion of the work, sources said.

In a bid to reduce flooding in such neighbourhoods, the Chennai Corporation has insisted on the need for temporary arrangements to bale out water from the localities this year.

Former Congress councillor P.V. Tamil Selvan, who visited Ripon Buildings on Friday, said most neighbourhoods were not prepared for the monsoon.

“They have not carried out any work. Coordination among line agencies is another challenge,” said Mr. Tamil Selvan.

With the Chennai Corporation also yet to complete many projects ahead of the monsoon, the delay by the line agencies has compounded the problem.

Official sources also expressed concern about the impact of projects shelved over the past few years on flooding in many parts of the city.

For example, a project cleared by the Central Government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission a few years ago to reduce flooding in the neighbourhood of Rajiv Gandhi Salai was shelved because of the reluctance of the State government to spend ₹100 crore on land acquisition.

‘A big mistake’

“It was a big mistake. The project covered land acquisition for 500 m on a stretch from East Coast Road to the sea near VGP Golden Beach. The land from Okkiyam Maduvu to the East Coast Road already belonged to Revenue Department. So the project was feasible. But the project was shelved. The canal would have reduced the time for stormwater to reach the sea during heavy rain. Currently, the water flows through Buckingham Canal, reaching Muttukadu 27 km away. Stormwater from at least 200 sq. km of the city takes the same route to the drain, leading to inundation for three to seven days in areas such as Velachery, Sholinganallur and Pallikaranai that are just two metres above mean sea level,” said an official.

Experts also said the Buckingham Canal was not wide enough even though the PWD increased its width from 30 metre to 100 metre. “The canal should have been wider. Most of the canal has been encroached upon,” said an official.

Some of the issues, which were reported by officials during the 2015 floods, have not been addressed.

The issues include a delay in the removal of a pipe culvert across the Adyar in Burma Colony, Jafferkhanpet in Ward 138.

Work on canals, including the Virugambakkam Canal, Otteri Nullah and Veerangal Odai has not been completed so far, officials said.

The Buckingham Canal also has not been desilted in many areas.

The delays in addressing issues relating to Metro Rail, highways and national highways point to a lack of coordination.

The civic issues that compounded flooding in 2015 are yet to be solved in most of the wards, according to former councillors.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 1:28:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/pending-projects-leave-city-at-risk/article19892316.ece

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