Last monsoon, teams led by 15 senior IAS officers, as part of a study, visited various parts of the city on November 4, 2017, compiled photographs and collected information from residents. The study continued for several days and a report was submitted to the Chief Secretary. As this year’s monsoon season approaches, work on these suggestions has not taken off.
Officials have pointed to a delay in implementing the Rs. 250 crore projects recommended for flood mitigation, owing to lack of funds. “The funding for the projects remains a challenge. No work has taken off,” said a flood monitoring official.
The Corporation has been unable to allocate huge capital because of low rates of property tax in the city for the past two decades. Multilateral funding agencies such as World Bank, KfW, and JICA have also rejected the request for funds for work in the neighbourhoods of Kosasthalaiyar river, Adyar river and Buckingham Canal. The State government’s Finance Department has also not sanctioned funds so far.
As a result, the residents in such localities are likely to face the same problem this year.
“The flood monitoring officer who visited my constituency last year suggested eight to nine projects for every ward. But the government has not implemented any work so far. For example, flooding near Nataraja Theatre on Pulianthope High Road remains a problem this year also,” said K.S. Ravichandran, Egmore MLA.
Corporation officials said the work on stormwater drains will be taken up only after funding from multilateral agencies is cleared for many parts of the city.
The Corporation has planned to use capital funds only at a few localities such as Kannan Street in Royapuram. Such civic issues were taken up because they were flagged during the visit of Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami to the flood affected areas in 2017. Inundation was more than two feet in Kannan Street.
Stagnation of roads such as Ritherdon Road, Demellows Road, Besant Road and Nungambakkam High Road was also reported by the senior Cabinet Ministers. But the work has not been implemented in such areas.
“Desilting was not done last year. If the Chennai Corporation is unable to implement new projects, officials should at least carry out desiting to reduce indundation this year,” said V. Sukumar Babu, former Chennai Corporation AIADMK floor leader.
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