In January 2014, the IWAI, functioning under the Ministry of Shipping, started its operations implementing the National Waterway – 4 project for a distance of 1,078 km covering Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Of this, nearly 188 km falls in Tamil Nadu. In Chennai, the plan was to develop the stretch of South Buckingham canal between Sholinganallur and Kalpakkam at a cost of nearly Rs.124 crore to enable cargo vessels with nearly 300 tonnes capacity and passenger vessels to navigate the waterway.
In 2014, the IWAI opened its regional office here for the sole purpose of improving the condition of the Buckingham canal, especially the southern section. With the new move, the fate of Buckingham canal, which is the only drain available connecting the Pallikaranai marsh via Okkiyam Madavu, will be unknown.
While the stretch between Muttukadu and Sholinganallur was to be taken up for development, the feasibility of extending the project till Thiruvanmiyur was also being considered.
But few months back there was a news item –
this was widely reported in other papers too
Chief Engineer of IWAI – SVK Reddy, who came from New Delhi, told the southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) that there was absolutely no cooperation from Tamil Nadu government. “Despite our representation to make the canal in Tamil Nadu ideal for navigation, there was no response. The State government should ensure the canal is free from encroachments and maintain it in good health, it’s not our responsibility. IWAI only takes care of navigation and shipping. We were left with no option but to relocate temporarily as the resources under National Waterways-4 were remaining unutilized,” he said.
The stand taken by the IWAI didn’t go well with the tribunal as well as petitioner, who questioned the IWAI official on why the authority was keeping mum in all the previous hearings and now shedding the responsibility by putting the entire blame on the State.
The bench, comprising Justice P Jyothimani and expert member PS Rao, expressed displeasure over the way both IWAI and the State handle the matter fully knowing the seriousness of it, especially in the aftermath of Chennai floods.
When i saw the news 1st in The New Indian express in June end i had vented my feeling that this is injustice to Tamil Nadu
when it came again in August , it looked to me as false blame game on Tamil Nadu government – i filed a RTI to know the truth behind it –
RTI Request Registration number – DSHIP/R/2016/50224 – i had asked the following –
” As per report of New Indian Express Newspaper issue dated 12th August 2016 the Inland Waterways Authority of India was closing the regional office in Chennai and shifting it to Vijayawada . Its Chief Engineer SVK Reddy, who came from New Delhi, told the southern bench of National Green Tribunal that there was absolutely no cooperation from Tamil Nadu government.”
My query to you is how many mails or letters were sent to tamil nadu government on the above subject and was there any reminder sent to them on the above subject and if their non cooperation was brought to notice to anybody in state government. If so please provide copies of ALL the correspondences from the Inland Waterways Authority of India to tamil nadu government and copy of the replies if any received from their end. Also whose decision was it to shift the The Inland Waterways Authority of India to Vijayawada ”
This is the reply i got which is stunning –
It says – for how many mails or letters sent to TN government – ” No such Correspondence was exchanged by IWAI and govt of Tamil nadu ” and when asked whose decision it was to shift to Vijayawada it says – ” Chairman , IWAI ”.
This clearly shows that public has been totally misled and fooled on this issue .
IWAI officials had the audacity to mislead the public saying there was no co-operation from Tamil Nadu government .
My intention of RTI was to know the truth – as to where the real fault lies as the real sufferers are the public of Chennai .
Chennai has witnessed an unprecedented damage and catastrophe during December 2015 floods and already the rumor mills are active on a repeat of heavy rains during November , December 2016 as per some predictions in ”Panchangam ” though i have no clue to it .
But it is duty of the centre as well as state to take care that Chennai people don’t undergo the kind of suffering they underwent last year – and this project is very crucial for the city.State government on its own cannot implement such projects without centre support .
There is nothing wrong in developing new state capital of AP but it is question of priorities – should Chennai suffer ?
Can’t they 1st finish the work at Chennai and then shift ?
If their intentions were genuine they should have written to TN government , instead they made false submission to National Green Tribunal and also mislead the public saying they were shifting due to non co-operation .
Dont know what is the real politics behind this shifting in spite of the fact that IWAI comes under shipping ministry and Union Minister of State in this ministry is from TN – not able to conclude why he is clueless in handling the issue and is a mute witness. If he really understood the issue, he should have convinced those who were behind this decision that it will affect Chennai residents badly in case of heavy rains .
Ultimate loss is for Tamilnadu – PM repeatedly harps on development of all regions but surprisingly Tamilnadu is being neglected and injustice to TN is continuing – after shifting of IWAI office it is turn of shifting of CIPET .
I firmly believe our PM is the last hope to see all round growth of the country and it cannot happen if states are neglected as it is now happening to TN .
I hope some sense prevails on Shipping ministry and they sit across the table and sort out issues in the larger interests of TN and Chennai residents specifically as its Cabinet minister is one of the best performing ministers of Team Namo .
I also hope the media picks up the lie of IWAI that shifting of its office from Chennai to AP was due to non cooperation of TN govt when they never even bothered to write a single mail or letter .