CHENNAI: AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami, who visited rain-affected areas separately on Friday, said Chief Minister MK Stalin should not try to shirk his government’s responsibility by blaming the previous government.
They made the remark in response to Stalin’s statement that the previous AIADMK government failed to implement smart cities works properly. “It’s inappropriate to exchange charges at this hour. The present government should instead act and fulfil its electoral promises,” he said.
On Stalin’s charge of kickbacks for smart cities works, Panneerselvam said the Chief Minister should back his claims with evidence, not level sweeping allegations. AIADMK co-coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami blamed the resumption of works on the Mambalam canal, through which rainwater from the interior T Nagar flows out, for the water stagnation in the downtown. He said the works were resumed after Chennai corporation levied a heavy penalty on contractors, who halted the canal works owing to the the onset of the northeast monsoon.
Palaniswami attributed the rain damage to Chennai to a lack of planning ahead of the monsoon. “The Chief Minister himself has said only 750 km of watercourses has been desilted, i.e., he accepted that 1,350km have not been desilted,” Palaniswami said, adding stagnant water is yet to be drained properly from many locations, including Kolathur, the Chief Minister’s constituency.
He also charged that 160 engineers from the Chennai Corporation have been transferred and that those who replaced them did not know where the water would stagnate; hence the current situation. Meanwhile, VK Sasikala, too, visited several parts of the city and distributed relief assistance to the needy. She demanded that the Centre release financial assistance to the State immediately so the latter can carry out relief and restoration works.