Chennai Buzz: Second serosurvey begins | Work on new bus terminus underway | Pandemic halts plantation drive…and more

Latest updates on the COVID-19 front in the city and news of other developments during the week that went by.

COVID-19: Second serosurvey begins; fever camps near workplaces

The second seroprevalence survey in Chennai to assess the extent of spread of COVID-19 will be carried out over the next 68 days by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). The survey will take place in random streets across slums in the city. The first serosurvey, which was done three months ago, revealed that one in five residents of Chennai had contracted the novel coronavirus. 

Senior authorities at GCC stated that the number of people visiting the fever camps is down to 51 persons from the daily count of between 70-80 personsduring the lockdown. The decrease in footfall has been attributed to the resumption of work by many as the economy has been unlocked.

Hence, for the benefit of office-goers, the civic body has decided to organise fever clinics around workplaces between 5 pm and 8 pm to prevent the formation of new COVID-19 clusters. Fever clinics and door-to-door surveys will continue to happen until the number of cases is brought down. 

On instructions from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, the testing rate in Chennai has been trebled from mid-June. GCC Commissioner G Prakash stated that the doubling time of the infection stands at 93 days in Chennai. 

Source: The Hindu

One month time for ECR owners before demolition

A bench of justices M.M. Sundresh and Krishnan Ramasamy at the Madras High Court restated their earlier order to demolish buildings on ECR that violate the norms of Coastal Regulations Zone (CRZ). The justices further gave the owners a time of one month to avail any judicial remedies. The bench clarified that a CRZ notification passed in 2011 declares 200 metres from the high tide line as ‘no development zone’.

It is to be noted that the Court rejected the petitions filed by the owners of the building ordering the state government to demolish the structures. The justices observed that the local body does not have rights to grant the permission for building plans in a no development zone.

Source: The Hindu

New bus terminus to be partially opened in 2021

A second bus terminus for the city at Kilambakkam is all set to be partially opened in 2021 before the state assembly elections. The construction suffered setback as the migrant workers left for their hometowns during the lockdown. Work has since resumed on the site.

In the first stage, the terminus would meet the needs of the buses that ply locally. The officials estimate that the terminus can accommodate 1.5 lakh travellers and has parking space that could hold 250 buses, 270 cars and 3,500 two-wheelers. 

Once the terminus is fully operational, all the buses that are south-bound will leave from Kilambakkam. The facility will have escalators, a separate room for breastfeeding, dormitories and waiting hall. An exclusive bus stand for city buses has been recommended. 

Source: The New Indian Express

Sapling plantation drive takes a hit due to the pandemic 

The Greater Chennai Corporation’s drive to plant saplings has taken a hit due to the pandemic. The GCC targetted the planting of 1 lakhs sapling this year. However, only 56,241 saplings have been planted so far.

Data from the civic body shows that most saplings were planted in Royapuram zone  (23,477) which is followed by Adyar and Thir Vi Ka Nagar zones with 4,000 saplings each. Around 2,000 saplings have been planted in Thiruvottiyur, Alandur and Madhavaram zones. 

It is to be noted that the civic body, in 2018, had allocated Rs 5 crores for sapling plantations as the city lost about 17,000 trees to Vardah cyclone. After identifying 200 spots, the planting began in February 2019 and 1.61 lakh saplings were planted by the end of the year.

Source: The Times of India

(Compiled by Bhavani Prabhakar)

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