Chennai: Around 70 eminent personalities including senior bureaucrats representing the State and Central governments, high profile businessmen and academicians met here on Thursday to discuss various themes surrounding the topic ‘Chennai as a Global City’. The Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) organised the meeting.
Speaking at the event, MCCI president Ram Venkataramani said, “A steering committee has been formed by MCCI which will among other things construct an urban observatory for Chennai that will record information on different parameters such as air quality, crime, health, sanitation and water. The organisation will work towards achieving its goal in making Chennai a global city.”
The two day event was split into three themes that focused on the need for an all round development of Chennai.
The first theme – Resilience and Smart Cities, had speakers like Secretary to the Government, Revenue and Disaster Management, B Chandramohan; Commissioner of Chennai Municipal Corporation, D Karthikeyan and even a fullbright scholar from The Earth Institute, Columbia University. The speakers spoke about the need and ways to build a smart city which could withstand large scale natural calamities, disaster preparedness and recovery.
The second theme – Inclusion, City’s Expansion and Social Infrastructure had speakers discuss topics on how the urban poor need to be a part of the development and should not be outcast. It had speakers like IAS officer Vijay Kumar; Environmentalist Foundation of India founder Arun Krishnamurthy.
One of the speakers, Vanessa Peter who is a Policy Researcher for the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities spoke at length about how the seclusion of the Kannagi Nagar re-settlement area had turned it into a hub of anti social activities and outcast its residents from the society. She spoke at how a proper plan needs to be in place for clearing slums.
The third theme – Global Investment Destination and Governance had businessmen from various fields discussing topics on the ease of doing business in the city and the governance and partnerships that need to be in place in Chennai’s smart city plans.
State Industries Principal Secretary Atulya Misra; Shriram EPC CEO and MD T Shivaraman; Kasturi and Sons MD and CEO Rajiv Lochan; British Deputy Head of Mission and Trade, Isaac Hewlings; e-governance specialist for smart cities from E-governance foundation, New Delhi, Sushovon Saha spoke on the theme.