Apart from removing the fallen trees, which have obstructed the flow at many places, they also have to desilt the water bodies as many broken branches and leaves have choked the two rivers. PWD officials said hundreds of trees along these two rivers succumbed to the cyclone and a number of earthmovers were pressed into action to clear the debris near Virugambakkam and Aminjikarai.
“We undertook desilting works well before the north-east monsoon at various points in the rivers to avoid flooding like last year. Now, we need to carry out desilting again,” a senior PWD official said. PWD officials said that they were currently working with the Corporation staff to desilt Cooum and Adyar. A total of 1,000 Corporation workers have been engaged in clearing the debris.
“While we provide the earthmoving equipment and identify the locations along the streams that need desilting, the actual work is done by the Corporation staff. The debris removed from the water bodies would be taken to the designated dumping spots,” M Bhakthavachalam, Superintending Engineer, Palar Basin Circle.
Following last year’s floods, PWD officials took up desilting of water bodies from February 2016. However, due to fund crunch, the work remained incomplete. “We sent a proposal for Rs 100 crore as part of a master project, but the department has been sanctioned only Rs 20 crore. And we are yet to receive even that amount,” said a PWD official on condition of anonymity. “Lack of funds forced us to take up works only at key points in the rivers,” he said.
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