CHENNAI: Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday called upon all State governments, including Tamil Nadu, to remove encroachments on waterways on a war-footing to avoid repeat of a tragedy like the recent floods that had devastated Chennai.
“People are encroaching... encroaching... and we politicians, instead of stopping it, sometimes we become helpless... and thereby some people are causing hardship to large section of people. The local bodies sometimes become apparent spectators,” Naidu observed and added that being a dynamic and bold person, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa could take lead in this issue and show the way to others.
The Union minister was answering queries of mediapersons at the Secretariat after holding discussions with the Chief Minister.
“I feel the time has come to put an end. Public or private, all encroachments have to be removed. Of course, rehabilitation programme for the poor living there should also be taken up,” he said and added that all the waterways had to be demarcated and they should have a green belt and some local organisations should be involved in this process.
“It is a lesson for entire country because according to the experts, there is a possibility of such floods in the future also. Not only for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, the experts had cautioned some other States also,” he said.
Stating that the the government must make the local officer accountable with regard to encroachments, Naidu wondered, “when something is happening, why should the officer close his eyes?”. “As the Union Urban Development Minister, I would be pursuing this issue with all the states. I hope the State government will do whatever needed because it is a massive problem,” he added.