CMDA caught allowing change in land use plan, encroachment of floodplains

The 2023 floods highlighted that CMDA hardly learnt any lessons from the 2015 deluge. As water carrying capacity of Adyar and Cooum rivers had reduced, water entered residential areas.
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA)
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA)

CHENNAI: Chennai was battered by one of the worst floods in 2015, but rather than taking action to remove encroachments along waterbodies or protecting the floodplains, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority turned a blind eye. Rather than working out a solution, CMDA was allowing change in land use plan and allowing floodplains to be encroached and in the process casting aspersions on its Second Master Plan.

When questioned, rejoinders were issued to reporters. Planning agency member secretary Anshul Mishra questioned master plan of CMDA while relaxing the rules for allowing constructions along floodplains. The Thirupugazh Committee, formed to mitigate floods in 2021, was only on paper as no action was taken. However, TNIE managed to access the report which was kept hidden from the public gaze.

The 2023 floods highlighted that CMDA hardly learnt any lessons from the 2015 deluge. As water carrying capacity of Adyar and Cooum rivers had reduced, water entered residential areas. There were missing links for surplus canals. Families were found struggling for basic amenities, food, milk and other essentials. Entire communication network collapsed. Businesses suffered losses. Livelihoods and entire savings got lost. Chennai was shut down for nearly a week.

After The New Indian Express brought out the report, the state government is planning to release a white paper on Thiruppugazh committee’s interim report detailing the implementation of suggestions for flood mitigation and the roadmap ahead.

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