TN To Take Sai Baba’s Help To Clean Up

TN To Take Sai Baba’s Help To Clean Up
11 Feb 2009, 0416 hrs IST, Ajitha Karthikeyan, TNN

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government has decided to knock on the doors of Sri Sathya Sai Trust once again, seeking help to clean up the Cooum river
which has been reduced to a drainage from a fresh water source.

Local administration minister M K Stalin and public works minister Duraimurugan will call on godman Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh next week and request him to fund the much-awaited project. Their visit, planned this week, had to be postponed in view of chief minister M Karunanidhi’s surgery scheduled for Wednesday.

“We’ve already made a written representation to Sai Baba in this regard and he has assured us that he will consider the proposal. The public works department has prepared a project report which will be submitted to the godman,” Duraimurugan said.

“We will seek maximum fund from the Trust but it is for them to decide on the quantum of assistance. If approved, they may implement works through L&T,” he added.

This is not the first time that the DMK government has sought the help of Sai Baba for infrastruture development. The Sathya Sai Trust has already upgraded the 25-km-long Kandaleru-Poondi canal to facilitate a free flow of Krishna water to meet the water needs of the city. In fact, chief minister M Karunanidhi, a self-professed atheist, has even publicly shared dais with Sai Baba for the Krishna water project in 2007, raising many an eyebrow in the political circle.

Official sources said the estimated cost for the execution of engineering works, involving river channelisation and catchment restoration, alone amounted to Rs 140 crore. As the Cooum clean-up project involved multi-disciplinary activities, including handling of sewage and solid waste and the removal of encroachments from the river bank and rehabilitation, the total cost of the project could be arrived at only at a later stage, the sources added.

Once a fishing river and boat racing arena, the Cooum flows to a distance of about 65 km of which an 18-km stretch falls in the city limits.

The upper reaches of the river, running for a length of 35 km, will be restored under the World Bank-assisted Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation and Water Bodies Restoration and Management (IAMWARM), while the remaining tail-end part may be restored by the Sathya Sai Trust.

Times Of India Reference

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