Grandma's Tales

July 12, 2007

Masterplan II for Chennai

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:22 am

First a note on Darmesh. Attend any effort to save abandoned animals, trees and people in Chennai, you will find Darmesh there. This extremely intelligent, exceptionally hard-working and very young man has taken it upon himself to voice the rights of the voiceless. I never found out what he does for a living. But I saw him working with People for Animals, at a meeting to spread information on RTI and now taking an active part in spreading information on the Chennai Master Plan. Here is a mail from him.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority’s (CMDA) second draft master plan will decide the fate of Chennai city and its residents for the next two decades. Even while a sham consultation is ongoing on a shoddy master plan, the city’s landscape is set to become even more hostile for economically weaker sections through the JNNURM projects. Nearly Rs.44,000 Crores will be invested over the next 8 years for various infrastructure and developmental schemes/projects. The majority of this money will go towards widening roads and building flyovers for automobile owners, while bus services, education, and other infrastructure that will benefit all citizens will receive very little funding. The plans primarily supposed to benefit the poor of the city have however fallen short of its expectations. Most of the data is nearly a decade old and in some cases even manufactured to fit into the proposed ideas under the plans.

What will Chennai look like, who will the new ‘development’ benefit and whom will it harm, who will be heard and who will decide what’s the best for us? Agencies representing the software industry, the real estate sector and other corporate houses have made clear demands and presented vision papers to the Government. But no such consolidated vision has emerged from the city’s working class communities, the poor or those who work amongst them.
What would the city need to look like if the aspirations of the city’s poor are to be addressed? What forms should consultations take to assimilate and articulate these aspirations? What role could community groups, voluntary organisations and public-spirited individuals play in enabling this process? These questions define the agenda of the meeting proposed to be held on 14 July, 2007. We invite your organization to participate in planning the future course of the campaign and to challenge the JNNURM and the CMDA Master Plan in its current anti-poor form.
The agenda for the meeting:
Session I (1:30pm to 2:30pm):
Understanding the JNNURM and the CMDA Second Master Plan –
Mr. Louis Menezes and Mr. Devasahayam.
Session II (3:00pm to 4:30pm):
Presentations on areas of prime impact:
i) Shelter and Evictions – Ossie Fernandes, Human Rights Foundation
ii)Transport – Parimala Jayanthi, Penn Thozhilargal Sangam
iii)Health – Dr. Rakhal Gaitohnde, Community Health Cell Chennai
iv) Water – R. Srinivasan, Pudu Vellam
v)  Livelihood – Sujata Mody, Penn Thozhilargal Sangam
vi) Environment – Nityanand Jayaraman, Journalist and Environmentalist
Session III – Opportunities (4:30pm to 6:00):
Discussion with panel; moderated by Dr. Rakhal Gaithonde, Community Health Cell, Chennai.
DATE: 14th July 2007, Saturday
TIME: 1:30pm to 6pm
VENUE: Madras Institute of Development Studies
79, Second Main Road, Gandhinagar, Adyar
Chennai – 600020
For more information Contact Dharmesh Shah 9444416546.
The Hindu published a critique on the first draft of the Master Plan. It was written by Bharat Jayraj of Consumer Action Group. He too had highlighted the facts raised by Darmesh here.   



  1. Damn, I was trying to convince someone to attend one of CMDA’s meetings not five minutes ago. Gandhi Nagar would’ve been perfect! A pity that I hadn’t read this in time. Will there be another meeting, perhaps in the near future in a non-vague part of Chennai – to be understood as south or east Chennai, and preferably a combination of the two. My friend isn’t too much of an intrepid explorer. Is there a solution to the footpath menace that forces pedestrians to walk on the roads and cause perennial traffic jams? We (self & friend (sic)) were griping about this very issue. If you do have another meeting, I’d be happy to have him attend.

    Comment by Navaneethan Santhanam — July 18, 2007 @ 2:57 am | Reply

  2. Hi NS, thanks for all your comments. I sincerely hope there are several more meetings and consultations with people who are directly affected by construction/changes before the first bulldozer rolls in. Any information in this regard can be found here the minute I come to know of it. Please gather all those who are sensitive to the issues of daily workers, small vendors, shop owners and hawkers before the masterplan is executed. Tree lovers must join these discussions too.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — July 18, 2007 @ 11:24 am | Reply

  3. Hi, could some one raise the issue regarding the pathetic condition of Gundy industrial estate. I dont understand as to why no one is talking about such an important place in chennai, being throunged by Laks of people every day, its home to many MNC’s and there are increasing number of IT parks coming up allover the place there. But still the conditions are absolutely ridiculous. I mean, going by the state of the roads,lights and drainage ,no one would ever consider such a place to be called even as part of a town…leave alone be considered as a city.

    With such places we can never call ourself as metro city. Imagine the impression it would make on the forien officals who vist their offices @ these places!! imagine the impression the city would make on the clients visiting the companies located here. What would people from other cities who work in companies here think of this … they would be wondering as to how people her consider/ call this a city if they look at that place.!!

    I would luv to shout out these problems during the chennai masterplan meetings. but i don t have any clue about where these are being held. even if i come to know about the place i am still skeptical as to whether i will be able to make it to the meeting with my work pressure.

    So someone pls bring this issue up and make the corporation offcials aware of this.


    Comment by Ivan — August 1, 2007 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Ivan, thanks for stopping by. Guindy Industrial Park is not alone in its civic woes. Nehru Nagar on OMR and Ambattur Industrial Estate (marginally better) suffer from similar problems. Yes, small units lose business because of poor infrastructure. Those who can afford it create oases around their units and whisk their Indian and foreign clients in to keep the squalor out of sight. My primary concern is not the clients. I worry about the scores of women who navigate these roads at all hours of the day and night, rain or shine.
    There are only two solutions to this. [1] Industrial Parks complete the infrastructure (Mahindra did it) before giving licenses for businesses to operate. [2] As for the existing ones, the units get together, pool the resources and build it themselves.
    Industrial units do petition local civic authorities for improvement. Either they are not successful or they aren’t serious about improving their lot. Take your pick.
    Please contact Dharmesh (no: given) for info about the meetings.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — August 2, 2007 @ 10:59 am | Reply

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