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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XX No. 4, june 1-15, 2010
River basins, not stretches, should be looked at
(By Dr. Kr. Thooyavan, Editor-in-Chief, Our Building & Construction)

Many cities were founded and they flourished on the banks of rivers. But in the case of Chennai, this was an accident due to the acquisition of land by the English East India Company on the coast of the Bay of Bengal near the mouth of the Cooum River. Chennai city is traversed by the Cooum and Adyar Rivers and the Buckingham Canal. All these were once navigable and people in Chennai enjoyed the benefit of these water courses. On the other hand, these water courses have now become a nuisance to the citizens of the city and it has become a problem cleaning them.

Chennai, after having grown into a metropolis, is now the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) for planning purposes. The CMA has got 22 water courses – amongst them are Kosasthaliyar, Cooum and Adyar Rivers, Buckingham Canal, and the Red Hills, Chembarambakkam and Sholavaram tanks. These three tanks are the main sources of water supply to Chennai city. Many of the water bodies are facing problems of not only encroachments reducing their extent, but also the discharge of raw sewage, dumping of solid wastes, etc. and have caused pollution beyond acceptable limits.

As a follow-up to the Second Master Plan of the CMA, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) recently conducted a two-day seminar on waterways in Chennai. It invited all the stake-holders to discuss not only the problems but also to find ways and means to clean up the waterways, which is now the dream of the citizens and the Government.

Important points that emerged during the discussion were: To consider river basins, e.g. Palar river basin, Adyar river basin, etc. as planning units instead of the stretches of rivers for augmentation of water sources; flood moderation; and cleaning of waterways. Linking of the southern rivers also emerged as a long-term intention.

The seminar concluded with several recommendations which were handed over to the Chairman, CMDA, and the Mayor of Chennai, who promised to take them up for implementation. The sequence of action is flood moderation, control of pollution, clearing encroachments, and maintenance, including desilting sand bars at the mouth of the rivers. There is also a need for the CMDA to take up immediately waterfront development along the banks of rivers and canals.

It was hoped by all who attended the seminar that necessary follow-up action would ensue.


In this issue

Road widening is NOT the answer for City’s traffic
River basins, not stretches, should be looked at
Travails of city bus travel
Adyar Poonga gets ready for the public
Historic Residences of Chennai - 43
Other stories

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