Chennai faces week of deluge and water logging
Chennai faced above average rainfall in two intense spells this week, leaving most of the city water-logged. Many residents found themselves marooned when heavy rains lashed the city, with power supply being cut to prevent mishaps. The city saw 5.5 times more rainfall than is the norm for November in just a week, leaving civic agencies scrambling to run rescue and relief operations.
Multiple agencies including Chennai Corporation, the Fire department, and state and national Disaster Response forces were deployed to rescue stranded individuals and those in distress and provide shelter and food.
Water-logging disrupted traffic in many areas, with four subways still remaining closed a day after the rains. Subways at Madley Road and Duraisamy subway were completely submerged twice during intense spells of rain. Fares of cabs and autos shot up as public transport faced widespread disruption due to water-logging.
Questions are being asked as to why the city’s stormwater drain network, which has seen an investment of Rs 16000 crores over the past 16 years, failed to prevent extreme water stagnation in many localities. There has been outcry from residents of T Nagar, which saw major water logging, as to why the Rs 200 crore investment in smart city projects in the area failed to come to their rescue.
Source: The Hindu | The New Indian Express | The Times of India | DT Next
CMRL rapped by Madras HC for fining maskless passengers
The Madras High Court ruled in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) did not have the necessary judicial backing to impose fines on travellers who failed to wear masks. The HC said that despite the intentions behind the imposition of the fine, the transport body did not have the backing of a law to be able to implement such a move.
CMRL began imposing a fine of Rs 200 on maskless travellers. A total of Rs 87,000 has been collected by the body since the start of this measure. The HC allowed CMRL to retain the amount collected so far as fine. It directed the transport body to discontinue the fine as it does not have the powers to impose the same. The Court ruled that even if the metro stations and coaches were to be considered public spaces, the authority to levy fines did not rest with CMRL.
Source: The New India Express
CMDA task force to meet on illegal buildings
A Special Task Force of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) against illegal buildings is set to meet this week. The task force will look into the nature of enforcement action taken against illegal buildings within its jurisdiction. The task force last met 18 months ago in March 2020. The meeting is expected to look into inputs from local bodies on the nature of action against encroachments and other illegalities.
This far the body has issued notices to 26 hospitals and other constructions which did not receive completion certificates. The body has also been tasked with looking into issues of fire safety in densely populated residential and commercial areas in the city. The work of the task force comes into sharp focus this week as many parts of Chennai have been water-logged from rains with a bulk of the blame falling on encroachments and illegal construction in the city.
Source: The New Indian Express
Go ahead for Oceanarium at Mahabalipuram
The long awaited oceanarium project at Mahabalipuram received a boost when the Madras High Court ruled in favour of the state in a 47-year-old land dispute case. The ruling paves way for the creation of a world-class Oceanarium at a cost of Rs 250 crores. The original GO for land acquisition was passed in 1974.
With the court upholding the validity of the state’s acquisition of 13 acres of land, the much awaited under-water aquarium may soon become a reality. In addition to an aquarium, the project is also expected to include a sound and light show about the history of the region and the reign of the Pallava kingdom. Other aspects of the proposal include an under-water 60 seater restaurant and a penguin park housing exotic birds from across the world.
Source: The Times of India
[Compiled by Aruna Natarajan]