Corporation to reassess storm water drain plan

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CHENNAI: The Greater Chennai Corporation will reassess the project area for Integrated Storm Water Drain (ISWD) construction in Kovalam basin after fresh riders were laid down by the international agency which is funding the project.

Construction of macro drains which are nearly five metres in width is under way in one of the three river basins (Adyar and Cooum) in the city under the ISWD project. While Adyar and Cooum basin project is funded by World Bank, the Kovalam basin is funded by a German development bank KfW. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will fund the Kosasthalaiyar river basin project.

KfW has agreed to lend Rs 1243.15 crore towards completing the construction in Kovalam basin, which will help ease the impact of flood during monsoon in the extended areas located in the city’s southern region. According to local body officials, studies regarding the environmental and social impact as well as the project benefits and cons had been completed more than five years ago. Based on this study, a plan document was developed by local body engineers.

In March 2017, a team of consultants appointed by KfW pored through the plan document submitted by the civic body for execution of ISWD in Kovalam basin. But the consultants found it insufficient and not up-to-date, sources said, and asked the corporation to redo the process from scratch.

This development is another setback for the corporation as it had expected to call for tenders to start the project by April. With the study set to be redone, a realistic date on when the tender process would be initiated is hard to predict, officials said, while others suggested that it won’t be until early-to-mid 2018 (before tenders are called) and that is if the study happens as per plan. “The situation is frustrating, especially after all the effort that went into evolving the (first) plan document. If the corporation’s finances were healthy, we need not beg for funds from such agencies who have proven to be difficult to work with,” said an official, requesting anonymity.

The Kovalam basin is spread over 103.60 square km. It has no prominent water bodies, but consists marshlands. The basin is prone to environmental damages and as such a proper plan document is seen as vital for the project’s progress.

However, the civic body has much hope for Adyar and Cooum basin project as officials said nearly 80% of the construction is complete. “We have fixed missing links and once Adyar and Cooum basin is finished, it will enhance the flood carrying capacity of storm drains in the core areas of the city. Even otherwise, we are optimistic of handling rainfall better. It will be a problem only if Chennai receives excess rainfall,” a senior official said.

Source: Times of India

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