Tamil Nadu

Activists, residents to initiate process to restore waterways

Water activist Rajendra Singh on Monday launched an initiative for mobilisation of residents’ associations in the city to restore waterways for management of floods and drought. The initiative is part of the Tamil Nadu River Retrieval Movement, co-organised with the Indian Peninsular River Basins Council.

A gathering of activists and residents was organised in T. Nagar on Monday to explore various options to save waterways and promote policy measures. “Encroachments on waterbodies is the biggest challenge in the city. For most waterbodies, which are government property, the record is not good. The land value is high, and the people build houses in waterbodies. That encroachment is really bringing disaster,” Mr. Singh said.

“I visited Chennai after the floods in 2015. I spent more than a month in the city.In 2016, I suggested that officials identify and demarcate waterbodies. I am not saying you destroy the buildings constructed in waterbodies in urban areas, but rather prevent further encroachments in areas with rapid urbanisation. There is also silt in waterbodies,” he said.

Former Madras Institute of Development Studies professor S. Janakarajan pointed to the challenges in retrieval of waterways in cities such as Chennai, and the money spent on development of infrastructure to mitigate flooding.

V. Rama Rao, founder of the United Forum of Nanganallur Welfare Associations, said residents would launch a campaign for better policy measures to manage floods and droughts. K. Balasubramanian, executive president of Vanam, stressed the need for initiatives to mobilise residents in the city, and farmers in rural areas for retrieval of rivers such as Palar, Thenpennai, Cauvery, Thamirabarani, Vaipar and Vaigai.

Chairman of the Tamil Nadu River Basin Council Guruswamy said the residents part of activities in each river basin would stay integrated with the national level activities.

Tamil Nadu River Basin Council convenor S. Senthur Pari stressed the need for water literacy programmes through cooperation between river activists and residents in cities such as Chennai.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 4:29:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/activists-residents-to-initiate-process-to-restore-waterways/article37636305.ece

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