CHENNAI: Two city-based NGOs Arappor Iyakkam and Magasool Trust on Sunday organised ‘Reclaiming Our Waterways’, an initiative to analyse reasons behind last year’s floods and come up with long-term solutions. Stating that haphazard urbanisation was a major factor behind the flooding in cities, professor S Janakarajan of Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), the chief resource person of the event, pointed out that while cities in the West were planned to the minutest detail, in India they just sprout.
“Almost 16 major drains in the city have now become too narrow or have disappeared altogether. Only when the urban or peri-urban areas have water, livelihood and ecological security can we call our city developed,” he said. Janakarajan added that the December deluge was the result of human blunders and listed out reasons like low carrying capacity of storm water drains, encroached drainage system, silted and poorly maintained water bodies and the lack of risk assessment and management policies.
He called for the declaration of Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts as a single watershed region. The members of Arappor Iyakkam urged the public to do their bit in reclaiming the city’s waterways. Jayaram Venkatesan, convener, Arappor Iyakkam,wanted the government to intervene effectively and save the water bodies before it is too late.
M S Chandra Mohan, a member of Arappor Iyakkam, said, “We need to stop fearing the political repurcussions and start asking questions to push our elected representatives to do their jobs.”
A public call was given to the audience to take part in the citizen social audit, a plan to document the conditions of waterways in Mudichur-Pallavaram, Pallikaranai, Mugalivakkam and Villivakkam-Otteri nullah areas of the city.