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Tamil Nadu's 20 expectations for 2020
DT Next takes a look at the projects and proposals that are lined up for the city and State in 2020.
1. Class 5, 8 students to write board exams
The State government will conduct board examinations for students of Classes 5 and 8 for the first time this year. Conducting exams for these two classes was proposed by the Centre in February 2019, when the Right to Education (RTE) Act was amended. In addition, the introduction of smart classes in all government and government-aided schools, smart cards for all students in State-run schools and Atal Tinkering Labs in high schools are also on the cards in 2020.
2. Indo-Spanish private venture to clean city
Garbage from nearly half of the city will be removed by an Indo-Spanish joint venture from 2020 onwards, as the Greater Chennai Corporation has issued the work order a few days ago. The joint venture will create infrastructure and procure equipment for garbage removal to start conservancy work by March or April in seven zones. The contract for this biggest privatisation drive by the civic body is for eight years. Apart from this, work order for another four zones will be issued this year. In total, 11 of 15 zones will witness private conservancy from 2020.
3. Bifurcation of Anna Univ
Nearly four decades after being set up, the Anna University will be split into two in 2020. The Directorate of Technical Education (DoTE) has taken this measure to earn the Institute of Eminence (IoE) status for the university. While the first unit will focus on research activities, the second will take care of its constituent colleges across the State. In addition, incubation centres will be established in all colleges to promote young innovators. The online evaluation process is also on the cards.
4. Paid street parking to take off in city
Bogged down by several issues like the lack of interdepartmental coordination, on-street parking management system is expected to start in 2020. The private service provider has made all arrangements to start the pay-and-park project. Despite trial run being conducted on some roads, the inauguration is reportedly being delayed due to the busy schedule of State Ministers. Also, 500 battery operated bicycles (e-bikes) are set to be introduced in the city under cycle sharing project from February. Once the parking management system is launched, the Chennai Corporation will earn a sizeable revenue apart from regulating vehicle parking.
5. Construction of new med college buildings
The State Health department has sought approval for nine medical colleges in the State. Construction of the medical colleges at Tiruvallur, Nagapattinam, Krishnagiri, Ramanathapuram, The Nilgiris, Virudhunagar, Dindigul, Namakkal and Tirupur will start in 2020. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 2,925 crore for the medical colleges, of which more than Rs 1,755 crore has been released to the State as of now. The Health department officials said adequate land has been earmarked for the new colleges in the State.
6. King's College to come up in Chennai
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami visited King's College in London with Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar in August 2019, and interacted with investors and doctors to set up a branch of the college in Tamil Nadu. An MoU was signed between the representatives of King's College and the State Health department to start the establishment of the unit in 2020. The programme to treat patients with Parkinson's disease is also expected to start in 2020. The Health department has also signed an MoU with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to control outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya and malaria. Research on the control and prevention of vector-borne diseases will also begin in the coming year.
7. Command centre for city gets ready
The Greater Chennai Corporation has started erecting smart poles across the city to set up the command and control centre, and a trial run is being conducted. The control room is expected to start functioning in 2020. The centre will link surveillance cameras on roads and monitor parking apart from garbage removal. The smart poles will have emergency call buttons for persons in distress. The project is being implemented under the Smart City Mission.
8. Metro Rail to commence work on phase-2
Chennai Metro Rail has been witnessing a steady rise in the ridership ever since the first phase was completed. In 2020, the CMRL is likely to start service on Washermenpet-Wimco corridor of the phase-1 extension and also commence the tendering process to award the contract for the works on the phase-2 project, stretching 118.9 km, by the middle of this year. Phase-2 comprises three corridors — corridor 3 from Madhavaram to SIPCOT; corridor 4 from Lighthouse to Poonamallee; and corridor 5 from Madhavaram to Sholinganallur.
9. It’s ‘party' time for Rajini
Two years after announcing his political plunge, actor Rajinikanth is likely to finally launch his political party mid-2020 to contest the 2021 Assembly polls. He had announced on December 31, 2017, that he would contest the next State polls after launching his party and contest from all seats. But he kept his fans and supporters guessing while his Kollywood colleague Kamal Haasan launched his party and even contested the LS polls in 2019.
10. City likely to get a Mayor after four years
Following the successful conduct of elections for rural local bodies, the State government is planning to conduct elections for urban local bodies in 2020. If the elections are conducted as planned, the important Municipal Corporations in the State, including Chennai, will get a Mayor after 2016. The State has already prepared for the urban local bodies by announcing reservations for all the Mayor and Municipal Chairman seats.
11. Lakes to be cleaned for recreational parks
Following the success of the eco parks around Chetpet and Paruthipattu lakes where boating was launched recently, the government has plans to convert more waterbodies in and around the city into eco parks in an effort to promote tourism as well as to ensure that these waterbodies are protected. Some of the waterbodies where work has already started are Retteri and Villivakkam lakes. Efforts are on for more such projects.
12. Sterlite Copper’s pleas poised for verdict
The pleas moved by Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper challenging the closure of its copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi are poised for a verdict in 2020. Senior counsel Aryama Sundaram appearing for Sterlite concluded his arguments in December. However, counsels appearing for the State, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and other intervening petitioners, including MDMK general secretary Vaiko, people from Thoothukudi and voluntary organisations who opposed reopening of the plant, are expected to conclude their arguments in January. It remains to be seen whether the State government's decision ordering its closure would prevail or Sterlite’s contention that the closure was ill-motivated and had affected the livelihood of many would win.
13. Amended MV Act to be made official
Even as the traffic police have been slapping revised fine on motorists as per the amended Motor Vehicles Act, the State government has not formally notified the rules with the penalty details. The public can expect the government to notify the Act in 2020 and bring in more stringent guidelines to ensure safe driving practices. As of now, persons booked for drunken driving are being charged under the amended Act by magistrate courts while all other offences are fined by the city police who collect fines according to the old MV Act.
14. All of Keezhadi in one report
The State government has planned to release a combined all of Keezhadi archaeological study in 2020. The report will include reports of the first five phases of excavation. The report of first three phases of excavation has been obtained from the Centre and after the report of the fifth phase of excavation is prepared, it would be released. According to the officials, it will provide a detailed history of Keezhadi.
15. Privatisation of select train services expected
The coming year will end the suspense surrounding the long-distance trains to be privatised in Southern Railway, if the Union government goes ahead with the proposed divestment of passenger train services. Officials here expect their bosses in Delhi to finalise at least one or all three trains from the zone included in the 'hit list' of the Railway Ministry. Chennai-Coimbatore, Chennai-Madurai and some of the Tejas Express trains are in the list.
16. Phase-II of Kudimaramathu scheme to start
The Public Works Department is expected to start the second phase of Kudimaramathu scheme in 2020 to overcome future drought situations. Almost 90 per cent of the work under the first phase is complete. The northeast monsoon has blessed more than 300 lakes, making the State not to face water shortage.
17. Women’s hostels take shape
The Public Works Department (Building) will construct working women's hostels in a few more districts. Twenty hostels have been proposed, including in Chennai and Tiruvallur, to help women from economically weaker sections. The government has sanctioned Rs 1 crore for each of the hostels in Coimbatore, Tiruchy and Chengalpattu. Each hostel would accommodate 50 women. After the construction, the facilities would be handed over to the respective districts.
18. Drinking water scarcity washed away
With the northeast monsoon providing near-normal rainfall in Chennai and surrounding areas, the combined storage in all the reservoirs feeding the city residents is around 5.6 tmc, which is more than three times the storage that they had last year. Thanks to the desalination plants, Krishna water and the Veeranam lake supply, water woes of 2019 are unlikely to be repeated this year. Also, some of the major desalination projects are also likely to be completed this year.
19. Chinnamma's return may test AIADMK
TTV Dhinakaran's AMMK is expecting rehabilitation before June, by which time the party expects its godmother VK Sasikala to be released from Parappana Agrahara prison and resume active political duty. The loyalty of at least half a dozen Ministers of the incumbent AIADMK, who have publicly demonstrated their loyalty to ‘chinnamma’, would be put to test, much to the chagrin of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and ‘rebel’ O Panneerselvam, the Deputy Chief Minister.
20. Tectonic shift for DMK
MK Stalin-led DMK will undergo a major shift in 2020. The mother of all Dravidian political parties will most likely be steered by the professional wisdom of Prashant Kishor, who is expected to undertake poll management for the DMK in the run-up to 2021 Assembly polls. From suggesting probable candidates which could belittle district secretaries to enhancing the public appeal of Stalin, the team of analysts would change the way the Anna-founded and Karunanidhi-nurtured DMK would function henceforth.