Chennai has been witnessing ad-hoc and haphazard urban planning in the last few years, said Mr Datatri former Chief Urban Planner of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). Speaking at a workshop on ‘ Namma Chennai-Ezhilmighu Chennai’(our Chennai-Beautiful Chennai) organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), he said the state of existing public infrastructure is unacceptable. “Gross deficiencies in education and healthcare services are going to affect the drive towards further urbanization” he added.
Advising the government to start working on a State URBANISATION Policy and a Green Master Plan for Chennai city, he said; “As per the 2011 census, the total urban population of the Chennai Metropolitan Area is nearly 100 lakh. Atleast 40 per cent of that population belongs to poor and lower income categories. If we do not provide affordable housing to them, the slum situation would go out of hand”.
Sharing her vision of a cleaner and greener Chennai, Nanditha Krishna, Director, CPR Foundation for Environment and Education, said; “ we must follow Delhi’s example and immediately start introducing CNG buses. There is also a need for setting up micro sewage treatment plants in each locality’. Quoting from a study done by the Foundation, she said particulate content in the air we breathe is two to ten times higher than permissible levels. “What happened to this beautiful city called Madras? It was once a city with 250 tanks,which was one of the reasons why the British chose this location to build a city. But there are only memories of those tanks now,” Ms. Krishna said.
Kausalya Devi, Honorary Consul of France in Chennai, reflected on the experience of Paris trying to expand into an urban conglomeration called Greater Paris. With the city administration also considering a proposal to evolve an urban region along the lines of Delhi’s National Capital Region, she stressed the need for greater participation in governance. “Chennai has become a city sans citizens because most of us hardly vote. More than infrastructure, we need solidarity.” Ms. Devi said.