Friday, January 16, 2009

Walking towards solution to recurring flood problem in Cuddalore district

Walking towards solution to recurring flood problem - The Hindu

A.V. Ragunathan

Rajendra Ratnoo and his entourage visited 70 vulnerable villages and covered 500 km

CUDDALORE: A marathon “Water Walk” undertaken by Collector Rajendra Ratnoo has given a glimmer of hope to citizens who have long been longing for a solution to the recurring flood problem.

The Cyclone Nisha in November last year left behind a trail of devastation in the district, particularly in tail-end delta region of Chidambaram, Kattumannarkoil, Kumaratchi and Kurinjipadi blocks.

A large number of people participated in the walk organised by Mr. Ratnoo, and shared their views. The village elders, leaders of farmers and elected representatives did the mapping of the water sources and courses on the floor with charcoal and chalks, and explained in detail how the floods could be tamed.

During the exercise that lasted from December 17 to 30, the Collector and his entourage visited 70 vulnerable villages and covered a total distance of 500 km, of which they trekked about 100 km by foot.

Mr. Ratnoo told The Hindu on Thursday that he had obtained valuable inputs from people who had given him an insight into the ways and means of controlling floods in a cost-effective manner. Their suggestions would be translated into workable projects with technical back up of the Revenue, Agriculture, Horticulture, Highways and Public Works Departments.

The Collector had formulated projects such as Aruvamukku, Karuvattu Odai and construction of a canal linking Manavaikkal to Koleroon. Implementation of theses projects would safeguard a majority of areas, he claimed.

Mr. Ratnoo also assured them of construction of a bridge across the Manavaikkal at Saravarajanpettai (estimated to cost Rs 1.25 crore), Thirunaraiyur bridge (Rs 25 lakh), widening and deepening of the Khan Sahib canal (Rs. 8 crore), repairing the Ponneri sluices (Rs. 40 lakh), deepening of the Wellington tank (Rs. 20 crore), a bridge across the Vellai to link Thittakudi with Ariyalur (Rs 8.13 crore) and scores of other works on culverts and roads

A consolidated report would be sent to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on flood control, headed by Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin, within a fortnight seeking approval for the projects, Mr Ratnoo added.

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