Once again, an attempt is being made to clean up the Cooum river along 27.3 km at a cost of nearly Rs.2,000 crore.
On September 15, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa laid the foundation stone for the Cooum River Restoration Project, reviving an initiative announced by the earlier Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government with some modifications.
According to an official release, restoration work will be carried out in three phases. In the first three years, 60 sub-schemes will be completed at a cost of Rs.604 crore.
The objectives will be to find alternative ways to stop sewage inlets into the river, solid waste management, improving the flood-carrying capacity, resettlement and rehabilitation of slum dwellers, restoring biodiversity and usher in new development along the banks.
The Chief Minister also inaugurated a 120-mld sewage treatment plant at a cost of Rs.87 crore at the existing plant at Koyambedu. The newly inaugurated sewage treatment plant is the 13th such facility of the city. There are two more plants with the capacity to treat 94 million litres of sewage a day in the same premises. With the commissioning of the new plant, the city’ capacity to treat sewage has gone up to 732 mld.
Chennai Corporation will start work on resettlement of over 15,000 families along the Cooum, developing nine parks and pathways.
In the first phase, the Corporation will start removing solid waste dumped on the river banks, at an estimated cost of Rs.7.13 crore. The civic body will develop infrastructure for preventing solid waste pollution of the river at Rs.100 crore.
The work includes booms in the river to trap floating debris. The civic body will develop a fence along the river at Rs.52.96 crore. Neighbourhoods along the river will get landscaped greenery, groundwater and clean environment, transforming the river into a tourist destination.
Chennai Corporation is also planning to take action against commercial buildings and industries polluting the river.
These issues were highlighted during The Hindu 's campaign on the river during Madras Week in August.
In the second phase, lasting four to eight years, the trust will take up seven sub-schemes and the third will be the maintenance phase.