95% of SWD works over; permission for road repairs granted: Mayor

During last year’s NE monsoon, the places that reported water stagnation for more than 10 days were earmarked. These places include Kolathur and Pallikaranai where storm water drain works have been taken up.
Chennai Mayor Priya Rajan
Chennai Mayor Priya Rajan

With the clock ticking towards the onset of the Northeast monsoon, Chennai Mayor Priya Rajan is all prepared for the busy months ahead. With incomplete storm water drain works, pothole-ridden roads and traffic diversions playing havoc, Swedha Radhakrishnan finds out the status of the civic body’s monsoon preparedness of the civic body. Excerpts of the interview

With the Northeast monsoon likely to commence by the end of this month, how prepared is GCC to handle the situation in Chennai city?

During last year’s NE monsoon, the places that reported water stagnation for more than 10 days were earmarked. These places include Kolathur and Pallikaranai where storm water drain works have been taken up. The works are going on in full swing and almost 95 per cent is completed. What is pending is connectivity, which is in progress. The zonal officials are instructed to complete the works at the earliest and we’re monitoring the works round the clock.

Going by the pending works and public complaints, is there a possibility of inundation similar to previous years? What are the alternative arrangements made to prevent flooding?

We have arranged motor pumps from 5 HP to 100 HP in 112 places in the city. The process of hiring motors is done by zonal officials. Also, a schedule is prepared for the spots which require motor pumps to drain the storm water. In addition, the corporation has identified kitchens in all 15 zones and evacuation centres are also ready. A massive kitchen will be set up at Chindatripet to cater to around 10,000 people per day.

As several departments gave dug roads for their respective works, resulting in widespread damage and causing traffic woes, what measures are taken to address the issue of potholes and battered roads?

The contractors are instructed to fill the gaps with soil and put concrete after the works. This repair work will cover stretches where the SWD department, metro water, and Tangedco have taken up work. Also, the respective ward councillors have mentioned the damaged roads in their areas, and permission for repairs is already granted.

Chennai Corporation has conducted three council meetings so far. Have the grievances been addressed? What is the status of the complaints raised by the ward members?

The issues raised by the councillors are resolved at the earliest. In the case of a few petitions, such as requirements for schools and toilets in their wards, there are more procedures involved, including tender submission and fund allocation. The civic issues related to the monsoon and the repair of roads are given top priority.

Are women councillors performing their roles and responsibilities? Are there still complaints about intervention by spouses?

Initially, there were complaints about the husbands of some women councillors attending the public and official calls. There were also cases of them going for field inspection. Now there is no such and after the warning by Chief Minister the issue stands resolved. The councillors are visiting the field regularly to resolve the public grievances in their respective wards.

What are the plans concerning streetlights that also is a concern when it comes to women’s safety?

Recently, we initiated a gender and policy lab in zone 4 and 5 under the smart city project. Under this scheme, the places women frequently use, such as bus stops and subways, are prioritised. We’ve ensured that streetlights and cameras are installed for their safety. Once the policy is successfully implemented in these two zones, it will be extended to the remaining zones.

Waste management and handling plastic menace could be tiresome once it pours. Any thoughts about it?

Most of the residents have started passing on segregated waste to sanitation workers. We are creating awareness among the remaining population, especially in zone 4 and 5 on source segregation of dry and wet waste. The work on biomining at the Perungudi dump yard is in progress, and it is expected to be completed in a year. Likewise, the tender for the same at the Kodugaiyur dump yard is submitted and the work is likely to start soon. The public should also help the civic body in its effort to implement the plastic ban in full.

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