Chennai Buzz: Local body election updates | Toxic foam in Marina…and more!

Local body election preparations are underway. Metro Phase II will have a double decker line. Catch this and more news from Chennai in this weekly recap!

Toxic foam caused by sewage flow into Marina Beach

On Sunday, 8th February, snow-like foam appeared along Marina Beach from Napier Bridge to Kannagi Statue. People could be seen playing with the foam and going into the water. Researchers have pointed out that the foam is actually caused by toxic algal blooms when there is  free flow of sewage into water bodies.

According to a report carried out by National Coastal Research Center, toxic algal blooms have appeared eight times in India over the last eight years or so.  In the case of Marina, researchers trace the sewage from the Cooum River, mixing with the saline coastal waters, resulting in these algal blooms. The phenomenon usually occurs due to high amounts of phosphate in the water, especially during or after monsoons, when the phosphate content in the sewage is high. 

The phenomenon affects fisher communities in particular, as it poses a great threat to their livlihood. According to S Palayam from Coastal Resource Center, fishing hamlets from Ennore to Besant Nagar have depended on the two rivers for their livelihood, but due to indiscriminate inflow of sewage in the past few years and inadequate drainage systems implemented for fishing hamlets, both rovers have become extremely toxic and not viable for fishing. 

Source: The Times of India

chennai sewage flow
Sewage flows into the sea at Thiruvottiyur. Pic: Mohan Kumar Karunakaran

Local body elections to see 2670 candidates in Chennai

The upcoming local body elections in Chennai will see a total of 2670 candidates in the fray across 200 wards of the Greater Chennai Corporation. A total of 243 nominations were rejected and a further 633 candidates withdrew their nominations. The polling day – February 19 – has been declared a public holiday. 

Preparations for the polling is underway. Corporation will be livestreaming the proceedings on voting day for 1200 booths that have been deemed sensitive. A total of 28000 staff from government establishments will be poll officers, with training sessions conducted for them in the run up to the elections. 

Source: DTNext

Read more: Independent candidates to make a statement in the local body polls in Chennai

Plans to revive much awaited Sriperumbudur Railway line

The Railways Department is planning on reviving the Sriperumbudur to Guduvanchery new line nine years after including plans for the same in the 2013-14 budget. Many residents, politicians and industrialists had been demanding the construction of the line, resulting in its inclusion in the budget. Around 48 crore rupees was spent to carry out surveys and preliminary work for the line. However, the project was frozen by railways, before construction could begin, as they wanted to invest in priority projects. 

The line would help commute freight and passengers working in the industrial belts in the western and southern parts of the city. These areas include: Ambattur, Sriperumbudur, and Orgadam. The project costs around 839 Crores and is said to develop in phases. 

Source: The Times of India

Read more: Why Chennai’s suburban rail passengers are struggling to get their voices heard

Palar Bridge diversion leaves commuters stranded for hours

Palar Bridge near Chengalpet is currently undergoing repair work, leading to diversions in traffic on the Chennai-Tindivanam Highway to make way for the work. On Monday and Tuesday night, vehicles coming in from Madurai, Trichy, Coimbatore and Salem, on their way to Chennai, were stranded on the national highway for 5 hours. On Tuesday evening, many vehicles in order to avoid delay, took the Thirukazhukundram- Kelambakkam route to get into the city, however, this resulted in excess traffic in OMR. 

The work is taking place over the two bridges which span across Palar River. It was actually supposed to be completed back in 2020 by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), but was delayed due to the pandemic and heavy rains. The work involves replacing expansion joints and damaged hand rails and is said to continue for the next 60 days. 

Source: India Today | The Times of India

Phase II of Chennai Metro to have double decker line

Corridors 4 and 5 of the Chennai Metro will have two lines that run parallel to each other, allowing commuters to easily switch lines. The double decker model will have stations that are on two levels, one above and one below. The double decker stretch will have the following four stations built over two levels – Alwarthirunagar, Valasaravakkam, Karambakkam and Alapakkam.

Read more: Chennai Metro in figures: How does it compare with Mumbai or Delhi Metro?

The work is expected to be completed in the next five years. The double decker model will have Corridor 4 at the bottom at 13.5 metres above the ground. Corridor 5 will be raised above at a height of 21 metres above the ground. The double decker model will have a common concourse for ticketing and two different platforms.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Savitha Ganesh and Aruna Natarajan]

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