The Greater Chennai Corporation has received criticism over the draft Chennai Climate Action Plan (CCAP), uploaded recently on its website to seek feedback from the public, for alleged lack of adequate window for consultation and non-availability of the document in Tamil.
The 52-page presentation, prepared by the Corporation with the support of C40 Cities and Urban Management Centre, has identified key risks faced by the city and the long term solutions that it ought to pursue to make the city “climate-resilient.”
It has highlighted some important risks, including the possibility that 100 metres from the coast may get submerged over the next five years due to a 7-cm rise in the sea level. The civic body has given two weeks till September 26 for the public to send feedback and suggestions to the email address chennaiclimateactionplan @gmail.com.
G. Selva, secretary, Chennai central district unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said that it was unacceptable that such an important document was not released in Tamil. “There is an increasing trend of such policy documents being made available only in English first. Only after demand, a Tamil version is being released,” he said.
Urging the Corporation to immediately release a Tamil version of the draft CCAP, G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal said the two-week window provided for offering feedback was inadequate. He stressed on the need for wider consultations to be organised by the civic body. He said the consultations done while preparing the draft were inadequate. He said although his organisation participated in a couple of online meetings regarding this, they were not constructive.
Nityanand Jayaraman of Vettiver Collective said the exercise of seeking feedback from the public appeared insincere and ritualistic as the Corporation seems to have made up its mind on what ought to be done. He said the document tried to frame the whole issue as an “engineering” problem and not as a socio-political problem that exacerbated the existing social inequalities. He said that while the document stated that 204 consultation meetings were held, none appeared to be with the public, particularly the most-vulnerable fishing community.
He said the GCC as an institution with elected councillors was well-placed to organise adequate consultations with the public. In such a situation, he said the release of the document, which articulated policy framework for the next few decades, only in English and providing two-weeks to offer feedback, was unacceptable.