About 8 months ago, Chennai was unaware that it was heading into one of its worst natural calamities ever. If the rainfall, highest in a hundred years, shook the city, it was man-made problems which worsened the impact of the rains. With the monsoon now around the corner, the city is only well-aware of what it could face. A group of activists with the Arappor Iyakkam are organizing a public meeting to help the government and citizens prepare for another possible flood.
The public hearing, Kelu Chennai Kelu, will be held between 9am and 1pm at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai on Sunday, August 28.
“For Chennai to not come to a standstill again, we as citizens need to undertake flood prevention actions now. With just 2 months to go before the monsoon, Government agencies, elected representatives and Civil Society needs to work together to de-silt our drains, remove all encroachments on our water-bodies, and clear our ponds and lakes of water hyacinth. Else, it is a foregone conclusion that we will face prolonged waterlogging,” said a release from Arappor Iyakkam.
Arappor is calling for citizens from across Chennai to participate in the event and voice their concerns.
The public meeting comes on the back of a social audit of the city’s four major waterways, conducted by Arappor. “Chennai’s water-bodies are in no state to handle the rains – they are filled with garbage and plastics, or covered in silt and water hyacinth, or worst of all, completely encroached or choked with debris,” the organization says. You can read the full report here.
Arappor says that all elected representatives concerned and government officials have been invited. The outcomes from the meeting will be consolidated and presented to authorities concerned. A panel consisting of Retd IAS Devasagayam, High Court appointed Amicus Curiae Advocate Suresh, Retd PWD Engineer Thirunaavukkarasu, IIT Prof Sudarshan Padmanabhan and Advocate Sudha Ramalingam will be part of the panel for public hearing.