Chennai Corporation rejects criticism over SWD project along ECR

Rejected apprehensions raised by residential associations along the East Coast Road against the integrated storm water drain project as unscientific, Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash asserted on Tuesday that the construction of the drain would help harvest 90 per cent of the run-off rainwater.
Storm water drain work near ECR;Chennai Corporation
Storm water drain work near ECR;Chennai Corporation


In an elaborate presentation made on the storm water drain project created at Kovalam basin, Prakash said that the 360 km long drain would be built on the basin comprising Pallikaranai marshland (M1), South Buckingham Canal (M2) and south coast (M3) watersheds at Rs 1,243 crore, with the financial assistance of KfW, a German Development Bank.
On the apprehensions raised by the residents that sandy soil would absorb the rainwater and there would be no stagnation, he said that some people have been raising such issues without understanding the scientific basis on which the project was designed.
“Considering the largescale development that happened over the decades along the coastal area, the construction of the drain has become imperative to avoid water stagnation that could lead to outbreak of vector-borne diseases,” he added.
The Commissioner said that the south coast watershed of the basin is spread over 1,137 hectares, with 86 per cent of the land area being occupied by houses and plots while about 13 per cent of landmass comprises road infrastructure. “The drain construction will happen only on 0.69 per cent of the landmass,” he said.
According to the rain impact assessment done by the consultant, if the watershed witnesses a rainfall of 68 mm in an hour, there would be 773 million litres of storm water. “At present, 70 to 80 per cent of the water enter the streets. The soil can absorb only 303 million litres and rest will stagnate. If the drain is built using the German technology of eco block and rainwater harvesting infrastructure, we will be able to save an additional 326 million litres, which is almost 90 per cent of the total rainfall. Only the rest will be let into the sea,” he added.
Claiming that the project was opposed only by the people living in the ‘edge’ along the East Coast, Prakash said the Kovalam basin also covered the flood-prone parts of Velachery, Ram Nagar, Madipakkam, Pallikaranai, Thoraipakkam and Sholinganallur. “The surplus water from those areas would be let into the sea. Drains are designed based on gravity,” he added.
However, R Balakrishnan, treasurer, VGP Golden Seaview Residents Welfare Association, said if the Corporation does not agree to suspend the project immediately, they would take legal action.
“All the associations on the eastern side of the ECR have written to the Commissioner on October 23, a day after the civic body held a consultation with the residents, demanding immediate suspension of the works, furnish basic details, including the detailed project report and environmental impact assessment, and sought formation of a joint consultative committee to reach a mutually agreeable solution. But we have not got any response from them till now,” he said.

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