Speaking during the public consultation meeting held in Chengalpattu on Thursday, Samikannu, a resident, said: “Any final decision should be taken after talking with the gram sabhas of concerned villages.”
Several participants also cautioned the planning authority against expanding the Chennai Metropolitan Area in a way that would affect agriculture and farmers. “The government has taken land from residents for projects. However, compensations are yet to be settled even after several years. The proposed expansion will create more development and more such issues,” said a participant.
Harsha Koda of Federation of OMR Residents’ Welfare Associations pointed out that even 10 years after being amalgamated with Greater Chennai Corporation, there was no underground sewer and water connection along OMR. “Will CMDA’s coordination with the hundreds of local bodies be better, or will it be a logistical nightmare,” he asked the officials.
He also urged the CMDA to set an independent body with active citizen participation to oversee the implementation.
After hearing the public and stakeholders, CMDA member-secretary Anshul Mishra assured that the planning authority would take necessary measures to protect agriculture and promised a separate study to expand green cover. “After the expansion, local bodies will receive more funds,” he said.
The planning authority resumed measures to expand the metropolitan area, but scaled it down to 8,300 sqkm from the earlier proposal of 8,878 sqkm. The present size of CMA is 1,189 sqkm.
CMDA sources said public consultation meetings were conducted for Chennai and Kancheepuram districts, and a similar meeting would be conducted in Ranipet district soon.