Chennai to see Rs 45,000 crores of investment under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Project

Chennai and the greater metropolitan area are to have investments of Rs 45,000 crore over a seven year period under the National Urban Renewal Project which was launched by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to correct the woeful lack of infrastructure in our cities. In case you’re wondering, that figure is correct (as reported in The Hindu on Saturday November 18th), and are the kind of investment necessary to bring our infrastructure on par with the developed world. The other cities covered in TN under this project are Coimbatore and Madurai.

The investments will go into water supply, roads & transportation, and urban sanitation, and will be taken up as part of the Comprehensive Development Plan for the Chennai area according to Local Administration Minister Stalin. The good news is that one of the projects being taken up under urban sanitation is underground sewage systems. Those in the city take this for granted, but an area like Perungudi, for example, does not have an underground sewage system. This means that those building individual houses or apartment complexes have to provide for septic tanks to handle the sewage. Most individual houses do not bother, so their sewage is let out on to the road sides.

This is true of areas in Coimbatore and Madurai too, and is a nightmare from a health and hygiene point of view. What is hard to understand is that the houses that let out the sewage have to wade through the muck when they come to or go from their homes, as well as put up with the stench- but this doesn’t seem to bother them. You can imagine what a nightmare it is in the monsoons, because all that sewage mixes with the rainwater and stagnates or runs down the roads through which pedestrians have to walk. So this is a very welcome development which should see the end of this primitive system of dealing with sewage. (The Bubonic Plague which killed millions of people in Europe in the Middle Ages was due to sewage being allowed to run down streets which resulted in a huge population of rats living off it.)

The other area that is truly welcome is that of water supply. Here again areas such as Perungudi near Chennai do not have piped water supply, so people have to depend on ground water (salty), have to catch it from the Panchayat provided taps at designated times or depend on tanker water. One of the other very welcome initiatives that the minister talked about was drainage of flood water, especially from areas prone to flooding and water logging such as Velachery. The metro rail projects were also mentioned. Work will also commence on four grade separators (multi-level flyovers at busy junctions) and six road over bridges across the railway tracks. Some of the areas mentioned in the report are Alandur, Ambattur, Avadi, Maduravoyal and Poonamallee. (Help! Perungudi was not mentioned in the report!)

We can only hope that these investments will be made on a strictly performance led basis, and stringently managed where the finance is concerned given the huge outlays involved. It would be a shame to have these important initiatives done in a sub standard or slipshod manner because on money being siphoned off to the benefit of a few. However, I do remember reading that the Urban Renewal Project will have a very high level of monitoring and management directly from the PMO’s office. Lets hope for the best for better cities for us to live in.

13 Comments so far

  1. AB (unregistered) on November 19th, 2006 @ 11:27 pm

    Any updates on Hamburg City helping us out??

  2. randomguy (unregistered) on November 19th, 2006 @ 11:29 pm

    This must be a blog entry meant for

  3. anoy@anon,.com (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 12:49 am

    ஏன்டா பேருங்குடி புடிச்சி தொங்கரிங்க.

    வேற இடமே கிடைக்கலயா

  4. david (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 10:09 am

    I happen to live in Perungudi, so obviously I write about what I experience there. There are many other outlying suburbs with similar problems but I am not familiar with them. At any rate it certainly serves to highlight the problems of urban development which is the point of the article!

  5. Rajesh (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 2:42 pm

    Mr. perungudi if u do not know the other parts then search.Davidu seek and u shall find knock and it will open.Highlighting the problem is sick why don’t u provide some solutions for a change and start with perungudi which can be used in other areas.Solutions means not surface level.U prick!

  6. PodaDubuku (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

    Mr.Perungudi patience is a virtue.Mr Perungudi the suburbian Legend! Hehehehehe……

  7. david (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

    Solutions are what the entire post is about. If you do not get it, its because you want to be obnoxious without contributing in any way. Pathetic.

  8. Planemad (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 8:53 pm

    what worries me is that there will be so much cash floating about that no one will notice if some bits dissappear for pocket lining.

  9. JoeV (unregistered) on November 21st, 2006 @ 2:09 am

    Thats $10 billion approx. Exactly how much of that do you think will actually reach the public after the suckers (Politicians) have a go it?

  10. Ari (unregistered) on November 21st, 2006 @ 3:48 pm

    45k billion rps!!

    I still can’t imagine how many zeros follows the number 5 in that sanction. Under the assumption 50% of money would be allocated to the direct development and the rest would be funding entertainment of multiple political parties, I firmly believe this is one hell of a sanction Chennai can be proud of.

    I travel 34 kms every day to reach and come back from work because OMR isn’t ready yet! There’s absolute chaos on OMR and is constantly worsening. If am right today’s Hindu contains the “mentioning” of OMR’s phase two deadline extended to May ’08 due to unprecedented monsoon and Metro water work!!

    Oh wait, I just realized the meteorological and metro water department’s plans aren’t aligned with the city development and specially roadways department. *phew*

    What’s next?

    Solution? Lets say if there’s a public forum which discusses it’s “issues” with the local administration, namely Stalin & CO, things should move faster.

    Why would one believe Stalin should move things? He’s the potential next CM.

    Else I’ll capture my safari drive/ride to work and “youtube” it. Do you think it would make any difference? No?

    Let’s also try looking at things the optimistic side: 40% of the sanction gets utilized properly and the chennai becomes better in certainly more than one way. This would advocate the surging land price, cost of living and worse bring in those tons of immigrants who would crib about the language barrier.

    Last option: resign work right now, work for one of the urban development department , make your buck, invest in a hill station and be happy.

    Life can be painful with choice and options eh?

  11. Ramanan (unregistered) on November 21st, 2006 @ 8:44 pm


    Encouraging news indeed.

    I think we need to look into the project details, as the devil is in the detail, and not just get carried away with the funds allocated. We all know the bureaucracy and the corruption .. and its not going to just go away.

    As an avid reader of Chennai news and as a NRI dreaming to relocate to my roots .. I can vouch that the single most desirable thing in Chennai (for that matter, any city in India) is ‘Suttrupura Thooymai’ -aka- healthy/hygienic environment. Nothing else, be it the traffic or payslips or lack of facilities would stop me from emmigrating .. But having said that, I know to
    get a green/env friendly chennai it would demand
    almost everything else thats desirable … meaning
    civic citizens, sensible/honest politicians, dutybound officials… and then would follow a
    clean Chennai. :-)) Its almost like wishing for the fruits before bearing the good trees. Ain’t going to happen.

    Btw, what does a guy need to do sign up for blogging ? There just does’nt seem any way into the hallowed group !! Anyways — I love reading
    all your blgs


  12. vishal (unregistered) on November 24th, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

    Ramanan you must be out of your mind, to think of relocating to Chennai from abroad, you want to come back to a city like Chennai that has tons of problems and I mean MEGA PROBLEMS. Bad roads, no water, poor sanitation, corrupt people, a city with no indentity or character. I mean people that live here are hoping to escape this hell hole of a place and you are wanting to enter it????? I would not recommend anyone to come to Chennai it is a black hole that seems to get worse each year. Please don’t disappoint yourself Ramanan maybe look at other places like KL, Singapore etc.

  13. Ramanan (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 12:43 am


    You maybe right in that the Chennai is a stinking hole .. But its OUR stinking hole, so together we STINK :-)) Not to sound too patriotic or anything but everytime I come there (I visit every 18 months like a clock-work), I realize what ’tis to feel at home. The city desires much to be improved. True, it cannot even light a candle to the world class cities. But sanitization should be the TOP priority, IMHO.


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