|The Corporation is likely to get the Centre’s nod within a couple of weeks for executing the first part of the ₹. 1,030 crore underground drainage scheme’s second phase for the benefit of the yet-to-be covered areas of the urban civic body to save the Tamirabharani from getting seriously polluted by sewage. Following the Union Government’s instruction in 2003 on the need for conserving the perennial Tamirabharani while the Centre stipulated guidelines for protecting important rivers across the country from getting polluted by domestic and industrial waste, the Tirunelveli Corporation executed the first phase of the underground drainage scheme to save the river, the drinking water source for several million people living in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Virudhunagar districts.|
The first phase of the underground drainage programme was executed at a cost of ₹. 52.26 crore, which was shared by the Union Government’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, the State Government and the Tirunelveli Corporation. While 50% of the project cost was shared by the State and the Central Governments, the Corporation had to mobilise its share of ₹. 26 crore by collecting it from the public for providing them with drainage connections. As per the council’s decision, ₹. 8,000 was collected per domestic connection while this amount was fixed as ₹. 12,000 per connection for each commercial establishment.
Since only ten wards were covered fully and 22 wards partly in the first phase of the drainage scheme to save the Tamirabharani to some extent, the project had to be implemented in other areas, especially in areas situated closer to the river only in the second phase. In other words, the first phase of the underground drainage scheme could not serve as an effective mechanism to conserve the river from getting polluted by sewage in uncontrollable fashion.
Hence, the Corporation has drawn up plans for covering the remaining areas also under the underground drainage scheme on a whopping outlay of ₹. 1,030 crore. However, non-availability of funds has delayed the start of the first part of the much-awaited scheme’s second phase.
“Since the second phase of this exercise requires huge investment, it has been divided into three parts. Areas situated close to the river will be covered on an outlay of ₹. 360 crore in the first part of the second phase. The State Government has approved the detailed project report of the first part and forwarded it to the Union Government since the Central and the State Governments will be jointly contributing ₹. 180 crore while the Corporation should mobilise the remaining portion. We’re likely to get the Centre’s approval within a couple of weeks,” V. Narayanan Nair, City Engineer, Tirunelveli Corporation told The Hindu.