Chennai: In a novel idea, the state government is planning to rope in corporate firms to maintain and beautify Buckingham Canal from Madhya Kailash to Taramani, a 4 km stretch projected as showpiece of Chennai.
The plan is in line with Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) involving corporates to maintain Eastern and Western Express Highways.
The idea is to use the funds available under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to create green patches and also keep the area free from further encroachments. Under Section 135 of the Companies Act, any firm whose net worth is over Rs 500 crore or net profit is over Rs 5 crore requires spending of at least 2 per cent of its average net profit for the immediately preceding three financial years on CSR activities.
Preference should be given to local areas and the areas where the company operates.
The concept was mooted by Jawaharlal Shanmugam, the petitioner in Buckingham canal case in National Green Tribunal here. The idea was discussed in the closed-door meeting at judge Jyothimani’s chamber in the presence of public works department principal secretary N.S. Palaniappan.
Sources said that Mr Palaniappan was all praise for the idea and committed himself in taking it forward. Judge Jyothimani, who has been making special efforts to infuse fresh life and protection of city water bodies through various judgments, quoted the example of Mumbai administration which made Western Express Highways an eye-catching arterial road now.
Special government pleader Mr Abdul Saleem, who was present in the meeting, confirmed to the DC that the government was positive about using the services of corporates by virtue of CSR activities in keeping the canal in good health, especially on OMR.
Mr Shanmugam, who comes from a research background and worked with some of the big corporate firms in the world, said: “I have documented the entire canal and easily the government can entrust some responsibility to the corporates. The idea was well appreciated in the meeting. There is lot of dry patches on either side of the canal, which is filled with debris and these areas can be converted into beautiful gardens”. Sources say the government will invite expressions of interest from the corporates shortly.
The petitioner said his petition has obligated the government to update the concrete measures being taken to protect the canal to the green bench by March second week. “Hopefully, the government will do something positive by then”, he said.