Combined discussion on the Supplementary for Grants No. 1, 3, 4, 6 to 8, 10 to 12, 15, 17 to 20, 22, 23, 25 to 31, 33 to 35, 40, 44 to 51, 53, 54, 59 to 65, 67 to 70, 73, 75 to 78, 81, 81, 84 to 88, 90, 92 to 99 and 101 in respect of Supplementary Demands for Grants-Second Batch for 2021-2022 commenced.
DR.T. SUMATHY (A) THAMIZHACHI THANGAPANDIAN (CHENNAI SOUTH):
The Finance Ministry had announced last year the Pradhanmantri Gareeb Kalyan Package, Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan Package during the Covid Pandemic period and all other schemes announced were kept in abeyance.
This means the initiation of new schemes already appraised/approved will remain suspended for one year till march 31, 2021 or till further orders whichever is earlier. This is applicable for those schemes as well for which in-principle approval has already been given by the Department of Expenditure.
The country has witnessed an unprecedented sorrow and miseries during the second wave of Covid-19. Every gamut of activity is standstill and it is only two months ago the country has breathed some relief.
I would like to confine here to the demands from Tamil Nadu and to my Chennai South constituency.
The total allocation of SDRMF (2020-21) in Tamil Nadu is Rs.1360 crore of which Rs. 1020 crore is the central share and Rs.340 crore is State share. Tamil Nadu being one of the most vulnerable states in the country require more funds from the centre. But the centre had not released amount under certain centrally sponsored schemes for which the Government of Tamil Nadu had already spent. This will create a big hole in Tamil Nadu budget in the coming year.
The Union Government has yet to release an amount of Rs 19,000 crore to Tamil Nadu as part of its share for centrally sponsored schemes or towards reimbursing the money spent by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is yet to get post/pre-matric scholarship funds of Rs. 1500 crores meant for SC/ST students. Similarly in school education department Rs. 1200 crore yet to released.
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) an amount of Rs. 600 crores, are still pending from the Government. A total amount of about Rs.1500 crore is yet to be released under the revised restructured Technology Upgradation Funds Scheme (TUFS), to entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu.
Any delay in the release of funds sanctioned will not only affect the proper implementation of centrally sponsored schemes but adversely affect the socio economic and educational status of the beneficiaries. Therefore, I urge upon the Union Government to expedite the released Rs.19000 crore dues to Tamil Nadu on various schemes and avoid any such shortfalls in the approved central share release in future
Lots of efforts have to be taken under Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust (CRRT) to reduce the sewage let into the rivers and other water bodies of Chennai mega city, Creation and restoration of water bodies in Chennai and adjoining areas at the cost of Rs.500 crore and Restoration of Chennai Waterways at the cost of Rs. 10000 crore is the need of the hour.
The Coovum River Restoration Project has to be implemented at a total cost of Rs.3,833.62 crore in 5 years with Chennai River Restoration Trust as the nodal agency. But nothing has been done concretely so far to implement such an important programme. Apart from the Adyar River Eco Restoration Project, Rs. 150 crore was allocated out of the Environment Protection and Renewable Energy Fund to restore lake, water bodies in Chennai and other cities.
The Remediation/closure of Perungudi/kodungaiyur dump yards at the cost of Rs. 150 crores and Greenfield Regional Landfill and waste Processing Facility at the cost of Rs. 150 crore and an integrated waste collection and Transfer at the cost of Rs. 200 crores.
The 100 per cent sanitized and open defecation free city project at the cost of Rs. 300 crore and Slum-free city programme at the cost of Rs. 25000 crores which include 100 per cent sewerage coverage programme at the cost of Rs. 7000 crore.
The department of fisheries in Tamil Nadu has pioneered many fishery development activities in India. The Union Government has promised to form a separate Ministry to Develop and conserve the fisheries resources and to ameliorate the socio-economic status of the fishermen community,
The allocation made for important central schemes like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart Cities Mission, (iii) Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U), (iv) Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM-U), and Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM) are inadequate and insufficient to execute the ambitious targets set by the sloganeering Government.
Under AMRUT Scheme the Centre has not allocated adequate funds except few crores and the then Government in Tamil Nadu has not done any noticeable work under this scheme. This is the sorry state of implementation of this scheme, Sir.
The Smart Cities Mission lags way behind both in allocation of funds and execution of works under the Scheme. The Government of India have selected 11 cities in Tamil Nadu to be developed as Smart Cities which includes Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Thanjavur, Salem, Vellore, Tiruppur, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Tiruchirappalli and Erode. Even the allocated funds were grossly misused by the previous Government in Tamil Nadu. This area needs to be set right.
In between April 2016 March 2021 due to the lack of coordination between the different Corporations and Tamil Nadu Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation Lid (TUFIDCO) as well as due to the political interference, the smart cities projects in Tamil Nadu has not yielded desired results. There is an urgent need for proper devolution of funds from the centre and allocation and proper utilisation of funds by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Otherwise, reaching the desired targets in Smart Cities Mission is a distant dream.
Out of 378 projects sanctioned at a cost of Rs.10379.14 crore, 63 projects at a cost of Rs.248.09 crore have been completed, 199 projects at a cost of Rs.5502.40 crore are under execution and the remaining projects are under various stages of implementation. I would like to mention that under the Smart City Mission, all the 11 cities from Tamil Nadu are totally neglected. Government has to sanction further amount for the present Government under the dynamic leadership of our hon. Chief Minister Thiru M.K. Stalin to achieve the desired results.
PMAY-U is an affordable housing scheme being implemented from 2015 to 2022. The budgetary allocation towards the scheme for 2020-21 is Rs 8,000 crore. But till December 2019, 103 lakh houses have been approved. Of this, as per the Government’s data only 31 per cent houses have been constructed. That means the implementation of this scheme is going at snail’s pace and the Governments at Centre is just doing publicity gimmicks. The percentage of beneficiaries is very less and negligible compared to the Mission targets.
More than 35 per cent of Chennai population live in slums. Chennai Metropolitan population has grown from 2.64 million in 1971 to 6.5 million as of now. The expansion of Chennai Metropolitan Development Area (CMDA) from 1.189 sq.km to 8,878 sq.km has increased slum population eight-fold. During rainy season, the whole area gets flooded, the pathways become swampy and the entire colony becomes a fertile breeding place for mosquitoes, exposing the slum dwellers living in the area to all sorts of diseases. During summer, the thatched huts are prone to fire accidents. Thus, the slum dwellers’ life is the most miserable one.
The major factor contributing the development of slums is the lack of employment in rural areas and rapid urbanization. People migrate from their hometown to Chennai and get employed in different unorganized sectors.
The Government did not have any policy for the welfare of slum dwellers until our visionary leader Dr. Kalaignar empowered the Government to protect the rights of slum dwellers from eviction on relocation in 1971. The policy helped in created Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) in 1971.
The Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 mandates a review of the Master Plan every five years. The Slum dwellers of Chennai are the worst affected due to very heavy rains, frequent floods and cyclonic storms during Monsoons.
Development for the urban poor is beyond the provision of social housing. It involves the improvement of people’s capacities within the urban sphere. This requires around 1.5 lakh houses with all the associated infrastructure facilities for providing quality education to medical care to create Smart Slums in Chennai Metropolitan Area.
I therefore urge the Government to take appropriate steps to provide funds for the construction of 1.5 Lakh houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing for All (Urban) and also initiate the Smart Slums program under the Smart Cities Initiative in Chennai Metropolitan Area which cover my South Chennai Constituency.
The much publicised and projected Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), to eliminate open defecation is also falling in gutters. The Union Government’s proclamation of achieving 100 per cent scientific management of municipal solid waste in all 4,041 statutory towns by October 2, 2019 has gone in thin air.
In 2020-21, Rs 2,300 crore has been allocated towards the scheme. The total estimated cost of implementation of SBM-U is Rs 62,009 crore but the results achieved so far do not justify both allocation and proclamation. I don’t know whether the Government could continue this scheme considering the extraordinary situation due to COVID-19 as the country’s GDP witnessed an abysmal fall.
Chennai is a thriving metropolis is also known for its diverse ecosystem. The Pallikaranai marshland covering a geographical area of 80 square kilometres is one of the most significant wetland ecosystems which play an important role in the natural drainage systems in South India. Unfortunately, mindless damages done to its environments is making its very existence uncertain in future. It is most unfortunate that the Government at the State is the biggest culprit in the last decade. The lack of scientific approach coupled with inept and corrupt state Government made the things bad to worst. Disaster awaiting.
The marshland has come under serious threat from the developmental programmes adopted by the Government. Major problem faced by the marsh is the dumping of municipal wastes. The Corporation of Chennai is dumping about 2200 tonnes of garbage in landfills right over the Marsh. Besides a sewage treatment plant that is located in this region 32 million litres of untreated sewage being let into the marsh on a daily basis. This has done an irreparable damage to the Pallikaranai marsh which is most vulnerable to encroachment and degradation.
Due to rapid urbanization and industrialization the Pallikaranai marshland was reduced to one-tenth of its original extent. The presence of a major dump-yard and sewage treatment plant operated in the ecologically sensitive areas of Pallikaranai marsh pose a great threat to the biodiversity of the wetland. If the landfills are closed and sewage treatment plants relocated, the damage can be curtailed.
The Madras High Court in one of its recent verdicts has ruled for the protection and preservation of 1716 acres of marshland.
As a first real effort to protect the wetland, Dr. Kalaignar’s Government declared 317 hectares (780 acres) of the marsh as a reserve forest on 9 April 2007 (Gazette notification G.O.Ms.No.52, dated 9 April 2007) under the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 and brought under the jurisdiction of Tambaram range, a separate range in Chengalpet Forest Division with headquarters at Pallikaranai.
The Government of Tamil Nadu in its State Budget 2019-20 has allocated Rs 165.68 crore for restoration of the Pallikaranai marshland. But none of the projects announced so far to protect Pallikaranai marsh lands have been properly done.
Therefore, I urge the Union Government to initiate immediately a comprehensive bio-diversity protection and conservation project under the National Wetland Conservation Management programme to save the Marshland of Pallikaranai.
Given the pace of urbanisation, large capital investments are needed for infrastructure projects which includes support from Central and State Governments in the form of capital grants.
Tholkappia Poonga or Adyar Eco-Park in the Adyar Estuary area of Chennai is the brain child of our mercurial leader Dr. Kalaignar and Thalapathy M.K. Stalin.
The Metropolitan Chennai has been growing rapidly and traffic volumes have increased greatly. To promote and ease public transport of various forms including metro rail and to ensure that the share of public transportation in Chennai city is substantially increased was accorded topmost priority by our beloved Leader Dr. Kalaignar during his golden reign.
A Detailed Feasibility Report for the expansion of the Chennai Metro Rail Project Phase II along 3 corridors – North West to South East; West to East; and an orbital corridor for a length of 118.9 Kms at an estimated cost of Rs.69,180 crores is very important for the people of Chennai particularly my South Chennai Constituency which extend up to Sholinganallur and beyond.
Also, the Integration of the Chennai Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), with the Chennai Metro Rail is desirable and would enable effective synergies between various modes of transport and increase share of public transport.
I urge upon the Government to support the Phase II of the Metro Rail Project of Chennai and to ensure that all necessary clearances are provided expeditiously to fulfil the dream and aspirations of the people of Chennai to provide the much-needed fillip to the public transport system in the Chennai Metropolitan city. I urge the Union Government to expedite the Phase-II of Chennai Metro Rail Project.
The Chennai Metropolitan city is bursting with almost one crore people and also have a huge floating population converging from all corners of Tamil Nadu, India and world over.
Unfortunately, the capacity of the city roads to handle the surging population of people and vehicles continues to be same and inadequate resulting in frequent traffic snarls and blockades. The people of Chennai city are often marred with traffic congestion, and pedestrian-vehicular conflicts
South Chennai Constituency is formed a major part of Chennai Metro city and is affected very badly due to frequent traffic snarls, road blocks due to pedestrian-vehicular conflicts occurring at Virugampakkam, Valasaravakkam, Vadapalani, T.Nagar, Adayar, Velacherry, Tharamani, Tiruvanmiyur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur road junctions.
The Chennai Metropolitan city desperately requires several new impetuses in Urban Road Infrastructure to mitigate traffic hurls and pedestrian-vehicle conflicts in almost all the road junctions.
Sensing the need for a Skywalk or Foot Over Bridge demand for the same was proposed by several civic organizations and NGOs. Sky walks with escalators and travelators are the need of the hour, should be established under the Smart Cities Mission.
The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority is all set to draw up a Third master plan for the Chennai metropolitan area (CMA) whose size would increase sevenfold. In these circumstances I urge the Union Government to take necessary steps to expedite the sanction and construction of Skywalks, Foot Over Bridges with Escalator and Travelator facilities at all the vantage road junctions in South Chennai Constituency.
The City Development Plan under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission have to be reviewed for evolving Transport Strategies. The National Urban Transport Policy and the Second Master Plan for CMA needs immediate implementation of projects envisaged.
To address the projected traffic demand by the year 2025, the completion of phase II of Chennai Metro Rail Network, the augmentation of road network capacity through elevated highways is a must. The three road stretches from Teynampet to Tambaram, Madhya Kailash to Siruseri and Santhome to Sriperumpudur need elevated express corridor to address the traffic problems.
I urge the Government to take necessary steps to implement the elevated express corridors to reduce traffic jam and ensure smooth faster travel by commuters.