Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) Mayor, R. Priya, the first Dalit woman Mayor of Chennai in the Rs 789 crore deficit budget for the financial year 2022-23 has given a major thrust on stormwater drains in the budget as the 2021 floods had led to the city being inundated in water.
In 2021, the floods in Chennai led to five people losing their lives and many becoming homeless.
The Madras High Court had come down heavily on the state government and the Greater Chennai Corporation for their “unpreparedness” to tackle the sudden and unexpected heavy rains. The court had observed, “For half the year we are made to cry for water, and the other half we are made to die in it.”
These observations of the court had drawn flak from environmentalists and the Opposition.
The GCC has now decided to earmark a “good” sum in its 2022-23 budget for stormwater drains to bring a solution to the floods that inundate the city during unexpected heavy rains.
Stormwater drain was given the highest allocation for Rs 1,235 crore under different schemes in a budget with estimated revenue receipts of Rs 2824.77 and revenue expenditure of Rs 3,613.35 crores.
In the budget Rs 424 crores is allocated for tackling solid waste management and Rs 221.3 crores for the construction of bridges to clear the city of the traffic woes.
The Mayor in her maiden budget speech said that the corporation will get Rs 3.5 crore for three dialysis units which will be increased to one centre per zone.
Further, the corporation will establish three new homeless shelters at an estimated cost of Rs 2.4 crores, she added.
Street signs will be digitalised and an amount of Rs 8.43 crores has been allocated for the project.
Meanwhile, 1000 bus shelters will be constructed or renovated under the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model to bring in an advertisement revenue of Rs 52.26 crores.
Manali Lake, Sathangadu Lake, Sadayinkuppam Lake are to be maintained at a cost of Rs 143 crore, announced the Mayor.
Mayor R. Priya in her speech said that the corporation has been offering food to students in 23 schools in association with some NGOs and students were trained in 20 schools for spoken English language. She said this would be expanded to more schools.