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Centre raises $251 million ADB loan for project to prevent floods in Chennai

Residents wade through a flooded street as they evacuate their homes in Chennai.(PTI File Photo)

The Government of India signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a $251 million loan for an integrated urban flood prevention project in the Chennai-Kosasthalaiyar river basin to protect Chennai city.

Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance who signed the agreement on behalf of the Government, said that the project interventions will help reduce the vulnerability of Chennai–Kosasthalaiyar basin residents to frequent floods, which have in recent years destroyed property and livelihoods.

Chennai’s rapid urbanization has encroached on the city’s natural landscape, reducing water retention capacity which makes the city vulnerable to widespread flooding. The project will establish climate-resilient urban flood protection infrastructure.

The project will construct 588 kilometers (km) of new stormwater drains, rehabilitate or replace 175 km of stormwater drains, improve 11 km stretches in the Ambattur, Ariyallur, Kadappakkam, and Korattur channels to enhance water-carrying capacity, and upgrade a stormwater pumping station and construct a new one. It will also construct 23,000 catchpits in roadside drains to recharge the groundwater aquifer and rehabilitate four disaster relief camps.

Flood preparedness will be strengthened by developing guidelines to integrate flood hazard zoning into spatial and land use planning, implementing a flood citizen observatory for real-time information in flood areas, and creating a manual for green infrastructure design, including rainwater harvesting. The project also aims to enhance stakeholders’ involvement, including proactive participation of women, in flood preparedness by raising community knowledge and awareness of flood risks and impacts and its relationship with solid waste management, sewerage, and protection of water bodies.

Technical staff of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) will also be trained on planning and design of stormwater drainage systems and management of solid waste and flood risks. The project will develop a plan to ensure sustainable operation and maintenance of stormwater drainage systems. The project will also support the GCC to develop a roadmap to strengthen municipal resource mobilization for delivering sustainable and quality municipal services to the citizens.