Encroached water bodies, faulty planning stops Chennai from reaping benefits of recent rains


The Indian Meteorological Department data recorded 221 mm rainfall between June 1 and June 24 in Chennai but many localities in the city drowned even with light showers in July.

CHENNAI: Rivers, coastal floodplains, wetlands, natural flood barriers, streams, canals and backwaters are the guardians of Chennai in times of floods. However, all of them succumbed to the mighty 1,200 mm rainfall that the city recorded in November 2015, right before the floods that drowned Chennai. 

The Parliamentary Committee of Home Affairs in its report for the reason of Chennai floods in 2015 said that encroachment of lakes and river beds, faulty town planning and drainage system were the major causes. 

The report further pointed out that encroachments had reduced the carrying capacity of Adyar, Cooum and Kosasthalaiyar rivers — the three natural flood barriers of the city, gushing down water to the sea. More importantly, it held the Chennai Corporation and CMDA accountable for the disaster.  

Has there been a change?  

After the city faced one of its worst-ever water crisis this summer, with an almost 200-day dry spell, the June and July rains were a welcome respite. The Indian Meteorological Department data recorded 221 mm rainfall between June 1 and June 24. However, visibly, many localities in the city drowned even with light showers in July.

But the civic body doesn’t seem to have learned the lessons well. Stormwater drains and canals are choked with garbage, the three rivers continue to be a waste disposal site, carriers of sewage, and industrial and commercial establishments continue to expand in ecologically sensitive zones, with the Kattupalli Port expansion, being a recent one. Express spent time along the banks of Adyar and Cooum to identify the places where garbage is still seen in large scale. Cooum river along Flagstaff Road (Parrys), Egmore, Nungambakkam, and Aminjikarai continue to bear the brunt of the city’s garbage including plastic and other non-biodegradable waste.

Water Resources Department (WRD) officials say works were on to clean garbage from Cooum near Flagstaff Road while encroachments between Napier bridge and Chetpet were cleared earlier. 
However, the sewage outflow in these rivers have not been stopped as the `36-crore modular sewage treatment plant project along the Cooum river has been marred by red-tapism, and is yet to take off.Read more

Source Web page: The New Indian Express


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