Over 1,000 rain-battered roads in Chennai to be reconstructed

Coming on the back of a monsoon that averaged 75% excess rainfall and damaged Chennai’s infrastructure, more than 1,000 roads are being reconstructed in the city under careful monitoring of chief minister MK Stalin.
A water pumping machine clears the waterlogged road after incessant rains, in Chennai, in November last year. (ANI file)
A water pumping machine clears the waterlogged road after incessant rains, in Chennai, in November last year. (ANI file)
Published on Jan 24, 2022 01:21 AM IST
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By, Chennai

Coming on the back of a monsoon that averaged 75% excess rainfall and damaged Chennai’s infrastructure, more than 1,000 roads are being reconstructed in the city under careful monitoring of chief minister MK Stalin, who has visited constructed sites twice just one week.

It isn’t a common sight for a chief minister to oversee road laying work but politics around Chennai’s perennial flooding situation is a key aspect which Stalin promised to fix during the northeast monsoon in November last year.

“The chief minister met several people on the ground during the northeast monsoon so he is very particular that all the roads which were battered are removed completely and re-laid before the next monsoon,” said Sekar Babu, minister for Hindu religious and charitable endowments department, who accompanied Stalin on these visits.

“Since he is directly inspecting road works, officials are taking this very seriously and there is no room for any substandard work or irregularities.” The minister said while road infrastructure was a prime focus, the chief minister is also engaging with a recently constituted committee headed by retired IAS officer V Thiruppugazh to devise flood mitigation plans and long-term plans for water management.

Following a late night inspection on January 14, Stalin warned of action against officials in the Greater Chennai Corporation and the highway department if they laid roads without milling. When roads are laid without milling it raises the height of the road and as a result residential homes especially old buildings are below the road level so their homes are inundated during the rains.

“Because of the recent northeast monsoon rains, roads were affected so a lot of emphasis has been made by the chief minister, chief secretary and senior officials that the roads should not only be laid fast but also be laid with good quality so that these roads are long lasting,” said Gagandeep Singh Bedi, commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation.

“The CM insists that milling should be done. We have put 15 IAS officers for 15 zones (into which Chennai is divided). And we have given instructions to them and the chief engineers that they should particularly check that the quantity of bitumen being poured, the temperature of the hot mix, and the road camber should conform to norms so that there is no water stagnation.”

Back in November when life was thrown out of gear in Chennai due to incessant excess rains which caused flooding, there was a war of words between Stalin and former chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami. Stalin had accused the AIADMK’s former municipal administration Minister SP Velumani, a close aide of Palaniswami, of just “collecting commissions” instead of taking efforts to mitigate floods. Palaniswami in turn questioned what Stalin had done when he was Chennai mayor in the 1990s.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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