₹23,185-crore development plan for the city finalised

The city requires funding to the tune of ₹23,185 crore to bridge the gap in physical and social infrastructure, according to the final draft of the Chennai City Development Plan.

The final draft, prepared using data from various civic agencies, points to gaps in infrastructure including road, solid waste management facilities, stormwater drains, schools, parks, playgrounds and hospitals.

“The city development plan is a living document, taking a strategic view of inclusive development and service delivery for city residents. The final plan stresses on the need for ₹7,896 crore in the next five years for civic infrastructure development,” said an official.

Development of stormwater drains is expected to receive the highest priority in the next five years in various parts of the city. “Stormwater drains cover just 33% of the roads in the city at present,” said an official. The study highlights a stormwater drainage network which is “not constructed in an integrated manner.”

According to data compiled for the plan, 5,237 km of road network in the city have 1,854 km of stormwater drains, accounting for 33% of coverage. “We have 16 open drains in the core city covering a length of 27.9 km. Most city parts get inundated during the rainy season due to inadequate capacity, extensive encroachments, physical obstruction of drain inlets, dumping of garbage and sewer lines connected to drains,” said an official.

During the study conducted in the past few months for the preparation of the city development plan, residents have complained about “raising of height of the road every time resurfacing is done without milling to save money and time.” Residents have also reported broken manhole covers filled with silt, garbage and construction materials obstructing the entry and flow of stormwater in many of the 33000 roads in the city.

The city needs 4,459 km of stormwater drains to reduce waterlogging and mitigate flooding in many areas during the northeast monsoon. The goals include removal of illegal sewerage connections in stormwater drains, covering open drains to avoid mixing of sewerage, desilting and beautification of natural drains, linking of waterbodies in Kosasthalaiyar basin to reduce waterlogging in north Chennai, water recharging through the stormwater drain system, coordination between officials developing roads and drains and precast technology for drain project for fast construction. The plan has been prepared based on data pertaining to cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and major flood events in Chennai. Pointing to the Buckingham Canal, which is one of the largest canals in the country, the study details how the canal has been turned into a “carriageway for drainage.” Development of a stormwater drain network in the city is also expected to restore 320 tanks and ponds in the metropolitan area.

The capital investment plan for the period 2018-2038 in the city proposes allocation of 44% of funds for stormwater drains, 34% for roads and footpaths, 11% for parks and playgrounds, 4% for education, 4% for hospitals and 3% for solid waste management. In 2017-2018, the civic body spent 65% funds for stormwater drains, 22% for roads, 9% for parks and playgrounds, 0.5% funds for hospitals, 0.9% for schools and 1.5% for solid waste management.

The funding pattern comprises of grants and loans from the Centre and the State government.

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