Metro Rail to ensure last mile connectivity
For any mass rapid system to succeed, it needs to ensure last mile connectivity, and Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) is very aware of this fact. In a few months from now, CMRL will run share autos along its network, and will soon call for tenders.
“We plan to give a contract to the lowest bidding firm, to ply share autos to stations along our elevated and underground stretches. It will most likely be Tata Magic vans that would be operated through our network,” an official said
Meanwhile, Metro has seen a dip in patronage after withdrawal of the free rides that were offered as part of the Chennai Central extension inaugural. Metro Rail data shows daily passenger flow was above 1,20,000, when the rides were free, but fell to 55,640 on Wednesday. The number is nevertheless higher than the earlier average of 30,000, an official said.
Corporation to bring all parks under private maintenance
Lack of adequate manpower to maintain the parks that come under Greater Chennai corporation has prompted the civic body to award contracts for their maintenance, to private bodies. Of the 569 parks, GCC has been maintaining 252 parks using its own staff, while 40 parks were adopted by NGOs, individuals and organsiations. The rest are already under private contract maintenance.
“We have a sanctioned workforce of 366 in the parks department. Around 20 slots are vacant and 61 people have been re-deployed in other capacities. At least 22 workers are permanently stationed at the main plant nursery. This leaves us with only 263 people and then there is absenteeism to account for,” said a corporation official.
What remains unclear is whether GCC proposes to award the remaining parks’ maintenance also to contractors or is looking for corporate bodies to come forward to maintain parks.
Pallikaranai to be under eco restoration till 2023
Under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change, a sum of Rs.165.68 crore has been earmarked for the restoration of the Pallikaranai marsh till 2023. The government also plans to continue its Massive Tree Planting programme by planting 70 lakh seedlings on 7,000 acres of degraded forests with an outlay of Rs 22.46 crore.
“Restoration activities like habitat improvement, protection, research, monitoring, publicity and awareness have been undertaken. The activities will continue from 2018-19 to 2022-23 at a cost of `165.68 crore under the national adaptation fund for climate change,” says the policy note for 2018-19 tabled in the Assembly.
Decks cleared for the mega desalination plant near Chennai
Amidst warnings from biologists on the impact on ocean biodiversity, decks are cleared for the 400 million litres per day (MLD) mega desalination plant at Perur, Nemmeli, in Kancheepuram district, along East Coast Road. Metro water has been asked to give an undertaking to TNCZMA that it would bear the full cost of environmental damage and restitution arising due to setting up of the proposed plant.
Chennai Metro turns to technology to save water
Considering the water situation in Chennai, Chennai Metro is banking on technology to keep its underground stretch running during the dry season. Chennai Metro, which requires 20,000 litres of water a day to ensure air conditioners in the underground stretch remain operational, is now looking at gas-based cooling technology to keep the stations cool.
Currently, Chennai Metro is tapping water from Metro Water as well as buying it through tankers. Apart from these sources, Chennai Metro is also looking at treated sewage water to ensure underground metro stations function, said L Prasad, Director (Systems and Operations).