National

Remove encroachments on a war footing, says Venkaiah Naidu

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 22, 2018

M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development, visits flood-hit Chennai, on Sunday G SRIBHARATH

Large stretches of encroachment and obstructions to Adyar River, Cooum River and Buckingham Canal are a major issue and they should be removed on a ‘war footing,’ M Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development, told newspersons after meeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at the State Secretariat.

Naidu’s statement assumes significance as the city was inundated ten days ago following flooding of the Adyar River due to excess water release from the Chembarambakkam Lake.

“I told about removal of encroachment to her during the meeting. I have seen in social media that institutions and private people have also encroached. This cannot be allowed, because it will cause large suffering. It is a lesson for the entire country. Experts say there is a possibility for such occurrence in future too not only in Tamil Nadu but also in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,” Naidu said. “As an urban development minister, I will be pursing with all the States on removal of such encroachments and obstructions to rivers, lakes and canals,” he said.

“I suggested to the Chief Minister that she can lead this [removal of encroachment] and show it to others now,” Naidu said.

Rehabilitation

Jayalalithaa said rehabilitating the slum dwellers residing along the Chennai waterways was the highest priority for the government. There are about 50,000 such families who live along the three major waterways. These families would have to be provided alternative housing at other locations.

She informed Naidu that a special project to construct alternative housing for these families has been prepared that will require funding of ₹5,000 crore. She requested Naidu to provide financial assistance through special grant for the housing project as a special scheme considering the magnitude of the devastation, says a press release quoting Jayalalithaa.

She also sought a special package of financial assistance of ₹750 crore for the construction of 50,000 more tenements for families living in slums in the Chennai Metropolitan Area who have lost their huts under the Centre’s Housing for All scheme.

Urban development

While the Centre’s assistance would be at the rate of ₹1.5 lakh a house, the State government would contribute ₹1 lakh a house, making a total grant of ₹2.5 lakh for construction of permanent housing, the release said.

Jayalalithaa said there has been extensive damage to roads, drinking water, sewerage and storm water drainage systems in the flood-affected urban local bodies.

These urban local bodies, including Chennai Corporation, would require substantial assistance to restore these systems with preliminary requirement of over ₹4,500 crore. She urged Naidu to grant a special package for ₹4,500 crore for the same, the release said.

Published on December 13, 2015

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