CHENNAI: The third phase of the major makeover that the Adyar River has been in the process of getting is back on track with the Chennai River Restoration Trust (CRRT) calling for a public consultation meet on Wednesday.
The CRRT tasked with the restoration of both major rivers in Chennai — the Adyar and the Cooum — made an announcement on Monday, calling for the public to participate in the preparation of the Master Plan that will dictate what Phase-III of the eco-restoration of the river Adyar from origin to mouth will implement. The meet is scheduled to be held on July 9, from 10 am to 12.30 pm at the Janaki Rajagopal Mahal on J N Road in Anagaputhur. The preparatory process of the third phase had already run into some problems earlier this year, when the first public consultation meet was called for in February. Several activists present accused the CRRT of not giving the meet enough publicity and a few actually conducted walkouts, stating that the participation of the public at the meet was not enough.
This time, the CRRT is not likely to make the same mistake, said sources at the organisation. According to Arun Krishnamurthy, founder of the Environmental Foundation of India, the responsibility also lies with the public to show up at these consultations and come prepared. “It is a positive sign that the government has been quite persistent about holding these meetings and they are willing to listen to suggestions. The onus is now on the public to show up prepared on scientific ways of restoring the rivers. We need to participate with some amount of knowledge so that we can actually contribute to the dialogue that the government is trying to hold,” he added.
As for what the third phase was likely to focus on, a source in the environmental conservation circle said that the plan would focus on looking at restoration from a sans-encroachment perspective. “River restoration is often looked through the glass of encroachments. The focus of this master plan might look at the biological aspect,” said the source.
The third phase of the project is slated to cover the 42.5 kilometres stretch of the river from its origin to the estuary that empties into the Bay of Bengal.