“We had floated tenders and issued work orders to start the restoration works of 47 ponds and lakes a few days before the outbreak. But the works could not be started. We have now started desilting of select waterbodies as a part of the project,” said a senior official.
The restoration works are being carried out under the Smart City Mission. The civic body had selected 210 waterbodies for restoration, and had already completed works in around 100 of them. Now, works have started at 47 more. “We have to live with the disease as we do with flu and cold. Resumption of normalcy is a must for all sectors,” said the official.
When asked about the availability of manpower in the backdrop of guest workers returning home in large numbers, the official said desilting does not need too many workers as the work is done by using earth movers.
It is learnt that the Corporation would also commence the tendering processes for other stalled projects from June. Most of the engineers are now deployed in COVID-19 prevention works; they would be released from the work gradually.
However, as officials from foreign agencies were not able to visit and review the proposals, which could delay the fund inflow. The State is expecting Rs. 50,000 crore grants from the World Bank to implement several projects in Chennai. “The World Bank assistance will get delayed as the talks are in nascent stages. On the other hand, talks are continuing with the German Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank, who have agreed to fund stormwater drains in the city,” the official said.