When Chennai went underwater during the devastating floods of November 2015, urban planners and environmentalists had cited encroachment and destruction of water bodies, besides a poor drainage system as factors that heightened the natural disaster.
With funds (both a loan and grant) from the Asian Development Bank to the tune of $500 million (Rs 3,600 crore), Tamil Nadu is looking to develop climate-resilient water supply, revitalise water bodies, and strengthen the drainage network in 10 major cities, including Chennai and Coimbatore.
Additional funds worth $766.4 million (Rs 5,500 crore) for this urban rejuvenation venture will come from the Centre, State government, Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board, besides a whole host of other urban local bodies.
Here are eight things you should know about this venture:
1) This venture is expected to benefit four million people directly. Additionally, they can also look forward to avail the incidental positives that emerge from such an undertaking.
2) Funds from the ADB will be primarily spent on “areas adjoining industrial clusters of the target cities” says this Times of India report.
3) This venture will fund the first solar-powered sewage plant in India, and Coimbatore is the chosen destination. “A $2 million grant from the Asian Clean Energy Fund, established by the Government of Japan, will fund the solar energy project,” said Ron Slangen, a senior Urban Development specialist with the ADB, in its press release.
4) Funds will flow in three tranches until March 2022. The first tranche of $169 million will be dedicated to Coimbatore, Chennai, Vellore, Trichy, Tirunelveli and Rajapalyam.
5) One of the biggest concerns in many urban localities is the outdated water distribution network, which results in the inadequate supply of piped water and wastage. Only a shocking 42% of all households are covered by a functioning sewerage network. Making matters worse, 43% of all the sewerage is dumped into water bodies untreated. The fund looks to address these concerns.
6) An ADB technical assistance grant of $1 million will accompany the program to support capacity building, reports Money Control.
7) “The ADB program will provide direct assistance in these areas as part of its support to the state’s Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 to provide universal access to water and sanitation and to develop world-class cities in high-performing industrial corridors,” says the ADB in its press release.
8) As India’s most urbanised state, cities in Tamil Nadu have their fair share of challenges. “Managing this rapid urbanisation is essential for sustaining its economic growth and alleviating poverty. The state suffers from recurring droughts and erratic monsoons linked to climate change resulting in severe water scarcity and urban flooding. ADB’s support will help address these complex urban challenges through innovative and climate-resilient investment and deeper institutional support,” added Ron Slangen.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)