Chennai Buzz: Tough months ahead with heat and pollution looming large

With warnings of a water-scarce, severe summer, threats from air and sound pollution, and holes in safety infrastructure, headlines this week do not contain much cause for cheer. A quick look at some news.

Chennai taps go dry already

With major reservoirs supplying water to Chennai holding enough water only for the next four months, several pockets of Chennai are already seeing water cuts ahead of the severe shortfall that will arise this summer. Though December 2015 floods had filled up the lakes and reservoirs and increased the groundwater table, it has not helped much in salvaging the crisis. The north east monsoon which is the main source for the state was deficient by 62 percent last year. With acute heat waves already setting in, experts warn of a severe summer ahead and the drought will only add to the woes. However,

At a review meeting earlier this month, municipal administration and water supply minister S P Velumani assured city residents that there would be no water shortage this year. He also said daily supply would not fall below 600mld till the end of the year. On the ground, of course, it’s a completely different story.

Source: The Times of India | Firstpost

Chennai hit by all sorts of pollution – air, noise and water

While there is some awareness about water bodies being polluted day in and out, Chennai must also wake up to the alarming levels of air and noise pollution in the city that are fast growing to be a menace.  Alandur and Manali may fare the worst in terms of air pollution, but the rest of Chennai is not far removed. Residents of the commercial hub T Nagar go through a regular ordeal, because of both air and noise pollution.

Kannan, a resident of T Nagar, has in fact shifted to Tiruverkadu to escape the pollution after he failed to evince enough action from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) or the relevant authorities. One of his petitions regarding noise was forwarded to the Zonal Officer of Zone 10, but,

No further action was taken by the civic body. We have been filing repeated complaints about various activities by the commercial establishments that have been inconveniencing us with high pollution levels—both air and noise. But no follow ups have been undertaken by the Corporation,” says Kannan.

The multiple departmental agencies like TNPCB, Chennai Corporation and Central Pollution Control Board keep shifting responsibilities, and the buck never seems to stop.

Source: DT Next | The Newsminute

State Transport System lack control mechanisms for panic alarms

That SOS or panic button in buses and cabs that you might press when in distress might still go unanswered as the State Transport Department is yet to put in place a control mechanism to monitor these alerts. The Central Government had  in 2016 amended the Central Motor Vehicles rules, making it mandatory for all public transport buses and cabs to have panic buttons. Several states including Tamilnadu is yet to set up the system to monitor these alerts.

The Union Ministry has extended the deadline by another year, and the RTOs have now been instructed to look at GPS tracking devices, and not panic buttons.

Source: The New Indian Express

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