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Government gets ready to carry out pre-monsoon works early
With only a little over a month left for the north east monsoon to make its landing in Tamil Nadu, the State government has identified monsoon preparedness works to be undertaken in the Chennai region and allocated funds to carry them out before the season begins.
Under this, Rs 8 crore has been earmarked to carry out monsoon preparedness works, out of which Rs 5.3 crore would be spent to carry out works in Chennai region alone.
Under this project, the Water Resources Department of the PWD would start desilting the main waterways in the city, including the South, Central and North Buckingham canals, Otteri Nullah canal, Virugmabakkam Arumbakkam canal, besides continuous removal of sand bars from the mouth of Cooum and Adyar rivers.
“The works were started few weeks ago. We have begun the works well ahead this time. All the canals under the jurisdiction of the PWD will be desilted during the project.
It is expected to be completed within a month,” a senior PWD official told DT Next.
Apart from the overgrown vegetation and solid waste dumped in the waterways, blockages in the river and canal beds would also be cleared, the official added. The mindless dumping of plastics and other waste inside the water bodies is one of the major problems that the officials are facing during the monsoon.
The Water Resources Department of the PWD would carry out works before the onset of monsoon to prevent inundation every year. However, it faced the wrath of the public this time after the government issued a circular instructing the engineers to carry out monsoon works in November – weeks after the season commenced.
The city receives moderate to heavy rains during the northeast monsoon which starts in the last week of October and lasts till December.
Since 2005, the PWD had been issuing circulars alerting the regional engineers to carry out monsoon preparedness works in the months of August and September. The funds utilised for the work was allocated under the maintenance and desilting head.
Officials added that the works related to Kudimaramathu – a scheme to rejuvenate waterbodies – are being carried out in tandem with the monsoon preparedness works to improve the condition of waterbodies across the State.
2 city teams picked to devise solutions for water security
Two city-based teams have been selected to solve the existing water woes, tapping Chennai’s underused historic system of connected tanks and lakes, to ensure water security, as a part of a project by the Government of Netherlands.
Under ‘Water as Leverage’ programme, Chennai was chosen for a year-long comprehensive programme to identify proposals that could be developed into resilience projects.
Chennai was chosen because of the potential to tap into its underused historic network of water resources. The hundreds of connected ponds, temple tanks, huge wetlands and lakes were historically used as water basins for irrigation and help flood-proof the city. With them losing the primary function as irrigation sources, they were lost to urbanisation and encroachment over the years.
Speaking to DT Next, Krishna Mohan Ramachandran, Chief Resilience Officer of the city, said the idea was to work closely with the government authorities to put out a project that can be implemented over the course of the next nine months. “We received 15 bids from Chennai, out of which two teams were chosen. We have strong representation from local partners and workshop for the teams to share their conceptual designs with stakeholder groups such as government, civil society, academia and officials. Then, we will fine-tune these proposals and take it from conceptual to implementable design,” he said.