Encroachment of Lakes and Riverbeds Caused Chennai Floods: Parliamentary Panel

New Delhi: A Parliament panel has listed encroachment of lakes and riverbeds as a major reason for the massive Chennai floods last year.

The Parliamentary standing committee on home affairs in its report tabled in Parliament asked the state government to check the real estate mafia involved in illegal construction.

During the course of its inquiry into the reasons that led to the inundation of large parts of the Tamil Nadu capital last December, the panel was told by the state government that encroachments have been identified along and around the major water bodies. Some of the encroachers have already been evicted.

The report accessed by CNN-News18 has recommended that regular maintenance of the drainage system should get topmost priority, however daunting the task may be. It also notes: “There is a need to keep all our drains clean, there is need to make sure that all the storm water drains function and the outlets function.”

The committee however observes that the process of removing encroachments should be a balanced one as it has human and social consequences.

Commenting on the role and responsibilities of different agencies concerned, the committee strongly recommends that the Ministry of Home Affairs, through its subordinate concerned agencies, has to bolster its disaster preparedness.

The committee suggests that separate action should be taken to prepare calamity map of all important cities by developing standard vulnerability indices so as to minimise loss of life, loss of private and public property and vital installations.

The committee however rejected Union Home Secretary’s submission that since the rainfall was unprecedented and was more than the hundred years average, the damage was also huge. The panel felt that instead of putting the blame of nature’s fury, technological preparedness should be of an advanced level to overcome all odds.

Courtsey: Sumit Pande | News18 | 17-August-2016

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