Chennai Buzz: Area Sabhas delayed | Heavy metal pollution in Veeranam lake..and more!

More news in this weekly recap: Hawkers evicted from Wall Tax Road; Chennai Central becomes India's first 'silent' railway station.

Civic body removes close to 100 hawkers from Wall Tax Road

The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has evicted 100 hawkers from the pavements near Chennai Central and Basin Bridge. The civic body has cleared encroachments over a five-kilometre stretch. The area used to have shops selling food, mechanical parts and other goods. Pavements were also encroached upon by parked vehicles.

Apart from making it difficult for pedestrians to use footpaths, some of the encroachers were also found to have let out sewage into the recently built stormwater drains.

Corporation officials say that they have taken a stronger stance against the encroachment of pavements. However, residents point out that there are many more such cases of encroachments in the area that are yet to be cleared.

Source: The Times of India

Read more: Sellers and residents voice their concerns around street vending in Chennai

Delay in holding Area Sabhas irks Chennaiites

Area Sabha Ward Committees
Delay in Area Sabhas and Ward Committees leaves Chennai residents from voicing their views on the upcoming budget. Pic: Gurusaravanan M

Despite the constitution of Area Sabhas and Ward Committees, the civic body is yet to set a date for the first meeting of these platforms. The delay has irked residents who hoped to be able to provide their inputs and suggestions for the upcoming budget of the civic body. Area Sabhas and Ward Committees are seen as an avenue for residents’ participation in the budgeting process.

The Deputy Commissioner of Revenue, Vishu Mahajan, says that the public can still share their suggestions with Councillors or Zonal Officers in the absence of official Area Sabha and Ward Committee meetings.

Area Sabhas are expected to be held once the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Minister or Principal Secretary set the date.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India

Veeranam Lake polluted with heavy metals

Birds and aquatic life in the Veeranam lake have been found to have heavy metals in their bodies according to a latest study by a group of researchers from India, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America. The researchers concluded that the cause is the heavy metal pollution in the waters of the lake. The findings are alarming as the lake contributes 170 million litres of water per day for drinking purposes to Chennai.

Among the heavy metals, excessive amounts of Lead, Chromium, Nickel, Zinc, Arsenic, Copper and Mercury have been found in the organs of aquatic life.

The source of these metals is the Cauvery river, which has industries of different sizes along its bank, noted the study. The river is also polluted with sewage, fertilisers and other chemicals.

Since the contamination of the lake’s waters has the potential to affect animal and human health, the study called for interventions to improve the water quality.

Source: DT Next

Read more: How are heavy metals polluting the soil in Chennai?

Chennai Central Railway Station goes silent

On February 26th, the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Central Railway Station became the first ‘silent’ station in India.

In the absence of a public announcement system, railway officials are ensuring an increase in the number of inquiry booths and visual display boards. The display boards will have information on the arrival and departure of the trains in Tamil, English and Hindi. The boards have been placed at the entrances of the station.

For people with visual impairments, the station has now set up a braille navigation map at the main entrance.

For persons with auditory disabilities, QR codes are present across the station to access sign language.

The station going ‘silent’ has evoked mixed reactions from residents. While some say that the public announcement did not make a difference in navigating the station, others say that many depended on the system.

Moreover, the announcement system has been helpful during natural disasters and accidents, apart from aiding people with visual impairments.

Source: The New Indian Express

CMDA to revamp areas around Sholinganallur and LIC Metro Rail stations

As part of the Transit-Oriented Development scheme, which aims to increase the Floor Space Index (FSI) along important transit corridors in Chennai, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) plans to revamp neighbourhoods near the two metro stations of Sholinganallur and LIC.

The redevelopment involves road widening and the setting up of grids of roads. Apart from that, there will be more recreational spaces like parks created in the surrounding areas. The project will be funded by the World Bank under the Chennai City Partnership initiative.

An increase in the number of high-rise buildings up to half a kilometre from major transit points is expected due to high FSI.

Source: DT Next

[Compiled by Padmaja Jayaraman]

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