CHENNAI: The tender to undertake mass plantation along the Cooum river, floated by the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust (CRRT), has been terminated. In an article published in March, Express had underlined various implementation issues with the Rs 36 crore project including the lack of a contingency plan for the young saplings when work begins on the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway.
Concerns raised in the article have come true with work on the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Expressway expected to begin soon. Work is to be carried out along 15 km of the Cooum river’s 30-km stretch. Hence, plantation, as originally envisaged by the CRRT may not be carried out, leading to the trust cancelling the contract. The tender which was floated in January this year had been awarded to a private concern — Erode-based RPP Infra Projects Limited.
According to official sources, it has now been decided that, while the plantation scheme along the Cooum will still be carried out, work will be handed over to the local bodies including the city corporation.
While work on the expressway will be carried out until Koyambedu, the stretch along the Cooum beyond that will be taken up for plantation by the concerned urban local bodies including the city corporation and the Thiruverkadu municipality, among others.
“Even in the areas where the expressway work is expected to be carried out, discussions are on to use the stretches of the banks that are not affected, for plantation and riverfront development,” said an official.
Speaking to Express, a corporation official said that the civic body will take up plantations from scratch in the approved areas. “Wherever CRRT has already undertaken plantations, they will continue to maintain them,” the official said.
The trust claims to have planted around 29,000 saplings along the Cooum. While it will not take up any new plantations, it will continue to maintain the saplings already planted at a cost of around `2.7 crore.
The mass plantation project aimed to plant 4.53 lakh saplings along the Cooum river bank under the Integrated Cooum River Eco-restoration Project for a length of 60 km (30 km on each side) from the river mouth to Paruthipattu. While it was a promising proposal on paper, its implementation by the trust had raised several concerns including the lack of categorical budgeting for the saplings in the tender.
In an article published in March, Express had underlined various implementation issues with the `36 crore project