RTI reveals there was no communication between IWAI and TN government

Did Inland Waterways Authority of India shut Chennai office without any provocation
news RTI Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 19:02

In June, this year, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) shut its regional office in Chennai and shifted to Vijayawada, however, IWAI blamed the state for no cooperation in the project. Recently, the IWAI in response to an RTI has stated that there was no communication between IWAI and Tamil Nadu government regarding this issue.

S Ranganathan, who works at a private company had filed an RTI asking how many letters or mails were sent to Tamil Nadu government regarding the shift to Vijayawada. The IWAI replied, “No such correspondence was exchanged by IWAI and Govt. of Tamil Nadu.”

In response to a query on whose decision it was to shift the IWAI to Vijayawada, IWAI replied, “Chairman, IWAI.”

The RTI was filed by Ranganathan on October 5, 2016. “If heavy rains are repeated in Chennai, it will cause heavy drainage. IWAI should have at least finished one phase of developing the Buckingham canal. Only with the support of the Centre, TN government can make this project happen,” he said.

Speaking about shifting to Vijayawada, he said, “Even though they shifted, they could have implemented the project in Chennai. In the end, the people of Chennai are the ones who will suffer because of this,” he said.

IWAI began its functioning in Chennai in January, 2014 under the Ministry of Shipping. It began its operations of implementing four projects at a length of 1,078 km which covers Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

In Tamil Nadu, it covers about 188km and costs Rs 124 crore for the project. The project would have improved the condition of the Buckingham canal. The project should have been developed between Shollinganallur and Kalpakkam. It would have enabled cargo vessels with nearly 300 tonnes capacity and passenger vessel to navigate the waterway, reported The Hindu.

IWAI secretary Amutha Devi had told The Hindu in July that the shift to Vijayawada was temporary. She had said that the Indian Maritime University, where they had set up office, had asked them to vacate the place and they had relocated to Vijayawada for a short duration.

However, in August, The New Indian Express reported that the Chief Engineer SVK Reddy from IWAI told the National Green Tribunal that the state government should make sure that the canal was free from encroachments as their only job is to take care of navigation and shipping, so they temporarily shifted to Vijayawada.

He told NGT, “Despite our representation to make the canal in Tamil Nadu ideal for navigation, there was no response,” reports TNIE.

Meanwhile, the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) which is to be shifted to New Delhi is a major setback for Tamil Nadu. On Friday, DMK leader M Karunanidhi wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him not to shift headquarters of CIPET to New Delhi. He had said that there was no acceptable reason for CIPET to be shifted to New Delhi.

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