Chennai, Dec 13, : Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said time has come to take action against encroachments on water bodies and there was need to tackle it in an effective manner.
“One lesson what we have to learn (from the devastating floods in Chennai), is encroachments. I am very frank about it. I want to say it also. As an Urban Development Minister, I have gone through it,” Naidu told reporters after calling on Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at the Secretariat, here.
Stating that he had mentioned about encroachments in rivers–Cooum, Buckingham Canal– in Chennai to Jayalalithaa, Naidu said, “we have to tackle it in an effective manner. It is not only in Tamil Nadu, it is also happening in Andhra Pradesh.”
“I feel time has come where we have to take it on a war-footing and then we have to remove all these encroachments both public and private,” he said.
Elaborating, he said “people are encroaching. Thereby some people are causing (trouble) to a large section of people. At the same time, the reservoirs are shrinking, lakes are shrinking, rivers are shrinking. ”
“We are occupying, occupying. The local municipal bodies and authorities are becoming silent spectators,” he said.
“Government of India will help with housing schemes. But we need to have some thing like demarcation so that people do not encroach upon river beds. It is very important now.”
Complimenting people of Chennai for taking steps to restore normalcy, he said, “I salute the people of Chennai for their resilience.”
“Major issue after water receding is garbage cleaning. It is a huge task. People are very impatient. But we should also congratulate the sanitary workers as their houses were also destroyed in the rains,” he said.
“I came here to express our (Central government) solidarity and to extend whatever support is possible to the people of Chennai. People of Chennai have suffered very adversely because of the continuous rain,” he said.
Naidu is on a two-day visit to Chennai to get a first hand account on the impact of the torrential rains during the first week of December.