THE MADRAS INSTITUTE OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES (MIDS)
INVITES YOU FOR A SEMINAR ON:
DEVELOPMENT AND DESTRUCTION ON A WATERWAY:
A Critical Examination Of Transportation And Restoration Projects On The River Cooum
VENUE: MALCOLM ADISESHIAH AUDITORIUM,
MADRAS INSTITUTE OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
79, 2nd MAIN ROAD, GANDHINAGAR, ADYAR, CHENNAI 600020
DATE AND TIME: FRIDAY 5 FEB 2010, 3.00 TO 5.30 PM.
The last six months have seen the announcement of two major projects, an elevated expressway and a river restoration project, that will transform the physical and social landscape of the Cooum River in Chennai. The four-lane 19-km-long elevated expressway is slated to be built from the Chennai Port to Maduravoyil by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) at a cost of Rs.1,655 crore. Part of this expressway will run along the River Cooum, involving complex social, technical and environmental impacts for the interlocked ecologies of this waterway.
The enormous social costs of this project, in terms of large-scale destruction of homes and livelihoods of urban poor communities residing along the river banks have already become evident, with over 5000 families having been evicted even before the project has received full clearance. The urban poor have been scapegoated as being responsible for the chronically pathological state of the river, despite officially established evidence that the slums are responsible for less than 1% of its pollution. Procedural, legal and governance problems concerning methods of eviction, resettlement and compensation are also emerging. Additionally, the environmental implications of this heavy engineering project in an ecologically sensitive area protected by the Coastal Regulation Zone Act have not yet been fully examined.
While these issues are still awaiting full analysis, the Government of Tamilnadu has announced a Restoration Masterplan for the river, the main component of which appears to be the eviction of habitations along the river to make way for parks, greening and beautification, with no clear idea of what it would take to revive the water course. This model of waterways “development”, involving the construction of elevated corridors and beautification projects, is also being extended to other waterways in the city including the Adyar River and the Buckingham Canal. Seen together, these two-pronged interventions appear to be part of a strategy for rapid commodification of Chennai’s precious and highly vulnerable waterways. They are oriented toward transforming the waterways and their environs into high-end real estate for commercial exploitation, posing serious threats to their sustainability and life.
This seminar will critically examine the proposals, procedures and implications of the two major developments along the Cooum River, with a view to developing a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of the issues involved.
1. To develop a comprehensive understanding of issues arising from the two proposed projects slated for the Cooum River.
2. To critically examine the technical, environmental, financial and social costs and implications of these two projects;
3. To examine planning, procedural and governance issues in conceiving and implementing these projects.
Speakers and Topics.
1. Overview of the projects slated for the Cooum river in the context of transportation and beautification plans for the city. T.Venkat, Ph.D student, MIDS.
2. Analysis of policy-making and decision-making processes involved in these projects, in the context of statutory planning procedures. M.G.Devasahayam, Managing Trustee, SUSTAIN.
3. Analysis of technical issues in the Feasibility Report of the Port-Maduravoyil Elevated Expressway. Mr. K.P. Subramaniam, Retd. Professor, Transportation Department, Anna University.
4. Analysis of the Implications of the Elevated Expressway on the River Flow. Mr. Moorthy Dheenadayalan, Retd. PWD engineer.
5. Analysis of the Cooum Restoration plan in the light of past experience – Mr.T.K.Ramkumar, Advocate and Environmental Activist
6. Analysis of procedural issues related to governance on the Elevated Expressway project. Joshua Jayaseelan, MCCSSS
7. Legal issues. N.L.Rajah, Advocate, Madras High Court
8. Social issues. Beulah Azariah, IWID.
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT
DR. KAREN COELHO, MIDS. 24412589 EXT 318. MOBILE: 94449 54401.
T.VENKAT. MIDS. MOBILE: 98847 06531.