Chennai was selected by the bank as part of its programme to improve infrastructure in one city of a developing nation.
According to L Nandakumar, chief engineer (general and special projects) of Chennai Corporation, the move arrived following an initiative “Chennai City Partnership” proposed by the World Bank. “We have sent proposals for projects worth Rs 53,000 crore to the World Bank and we are expecting it to approve some of the proposals and fund them,” the engineer said.
The World Bank has begun a programme to fund one city in each of the developing countries, focusing on improving transport, water conservation and other infrastructural facilities. As Chennai meets all its selection criteria, the funding agency has selected it.
Several rounds of discussions have already been held between representatives of the World Bank and the Chennai Corporation officials to decide on the projects to be undertaken. Departments such as Finance, Housing, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), Metro Rail, Transport and Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL) had participated in the meeting.
Some of the projects proposed for the World Bank funds include new bridges across the city, area-based development, mega street, pedestrian plazas and multi-model integration of transport which will interlink bus, train and Metro Rail.
Of the proposed projects, area-based development project and the mega street project will alone require Rs 10,000 crore each. The official explained that the World Bank would not necessarily fund all the proposed projects, but would select some from the proposed list.
Under the Mega Street project, the civic body plans to redevelop the streets to better suit the requirements of pedestrians. A network plan will also be created to interlink the streets.
“Under the Smart City Mission, we are developing T Nagar as a part of area-based development. We have sent a proposal for a similar project across the city. The proposal is to develop at least 10 selected localities in the city similar to T Nagar,” the Corporation engineer said.
Presently, the shopping hub of the city is undergoing drastic changes under the Smart City Mission. The civic body had inaugurated the pedestrian plaza in November to promote non-motorised transport and plans to provide free WiFi connectivity in T Nagar. Apart from this, the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Metro Water) has been implementing a 24x7 water supply scheme in the area.
Even though the Greater Chennai Corporation would act as a nodal agency while implementing the project using funds from the World Bank under the Chennai City Partnership, several other departments would also take part in the process. For instance, a proposal has been sent to the World Bank seeking funds to buy 6,000 e-buses with GPS. “Bus shelters in the city will be redeveloped to announce the arrival of buses,” the official said.
The civic body has also explained to the World Bank officials the ongoing work of restoring water bodies restoration works and has requested for funds to restore more of them. The government has, meanwhile, decided to appoint the Public Works Department as a nodal agency for the restoration work.