CHENNAI :With a slew of measures, including desilting of water bodies, removal of encroachments, clearing blockage in water courses, readjustment of culverts, digging of recharge wells, pits and construction of check dams, and fine tuning the government machinery and other stake holders, Tamil Nadu government appears to be fully prepared to face any possible eventuality during the approaching northeast monsoon.
According to RB Udhayakumar, Revenue minister, a contingent of first responders comprising 30,759 volunteers has been formed to respond to any exigencies of natural disasters. “A force of first responders with 30,759 men is established to face any eventuality during northeast monsoon,” he told reporters here on Thursday. He noted that women first responders account for 9,162, while the number of inter-departmental teams is 662.
Explaining various steps taken to risk reduction and relief operations, he said 4,399 vulnerable locations have been identified across the State. Of them, 578 are categorised as very highly vulnerable, 892 highly vulnerable, 1206 vulnerable and 1723 are low vulnerable locations.
He also underscored the steps taken to clear encroachments of water bodies to ensure free flow of flood water during heavy spells. “Encroachments were removed in 8,417 water bodies, blockages were removed under 6,534 bridges and 1,14,785 culverts,” he said. Moreover, 2,863 pipe culverts were converted into box culverts to avert stagnation of water.
Commissioner for Revenue Administration (CRA) and Relief Commissioner K Satyagopal said that the water holding capacity in the State was increased by 2.5 tmc through removal of silt from water bodies and eviction of encroachments. He said, “Through desilting project, 7.10 crore cubic meters of silt was removed from 30,046 water bodies since 2017 adding a water holding capacity of 2.5 tmc.”
The aim is to clear water bodies of encroachments so that rain water can flow easily into them, he said. Moreover, 7, 256 minor check dams, 4,917 percolation ponds and 4,490 recharge wells were also created to harvest rain water in a better way.
He said the government has taken a policy decision to convert bed level bridges into elevated bridges.
Water woes in focus
Besides initiating several steps aimed at risk reduction due to heavy rain and flooding, the State government has also taken steps to address the issue of water shortage in districts that have received deficit rain.