In a major fillip to Chennai’s infrastructure, a slew of announcements were made in the Tamil Nadu 2023-24 Budget. The roads in the city will be upgraded at a cost of ₹300 crore in the coming year. For ‘Singara Chennai 2.0,’ (beautiful Chennai), ₹500 crore has been provided.

State Finance Minister Thangam Thenarasu said in his Budget speech that to address the increase in traffic congestion in the city, high traffic density roads like New Avadi Road, Paper Mills Road, and Sembiyam-Redhills Road would be widened to 18 metres, while Dr. Radhakrishnan Road and Kalki Krishnamurthy Road would be widened to 30.5 metres. This project, amounting to ₹300 crore, will be executed using the Transfer of Development Rights.

Focus on North Chennai

While Chennai is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, certain areas of the city especially in North Chennai experience acute deficiencies and gaps in infrastructure. To ensure balanced and equitable development across the city, Vada Chennai Valarchi Thittam, a new initiative is being implemented by the government.

Under the scheme, development works to the tune of ₹1,000 crore will be undertaken. These include construction of new tenements at Water Basin Road through Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board at an estimated cost of ₹75 crore and super-speciality block in Children’s Hospital, Egmore at a cost of ₹53 crore, he said.

A new project to improve the sewerage and drinking water infrastructure, and to reduce water pollution in North Chennai will be initiated at a cost of ₹946 crore, he said.

The minister said that a hi-tech film city will be established in Poonamallee spanning approximately 150 acres at an estimated cost of ₹500 crore.

Beautification of rivers

The Adyar River that flows from Guduvanchery in Chengalpet district through Tambaram, Tiruneermalai, Manapakkam, Alandur and Saidapet before reaching the Bay of Bengal, will undergo restoration and beautification through the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust.

This initiative, with an estimated cost of around ₹1,500 crore, will be implemented through public-private partnership. This includes features such as the installation of a 70 km long sewage pipeline on the banks of Adyar River as an alternative channel for sewage discharge, establishment of 14 sewage treatment plants with cumulative capacity of 110 MLD, and increasing green spaces by developing four parks along the riverbanks.

The project is scheduled to commence shortly and is expected to be completed within a duration of 30 months. The works from Saidapet to Thiru.Vi.Ka. bridge will be prioritised and completed within a target period of 15 months, he said.

Basic amenities

A project is under implementation to build new public toilets to upgrade and modernise existing structures, and manage their operation and maintenance through the public-private partnership mode, at a cost of ₹430 crore.

With the objective of fulfilling the drinking water needs of Chennai city, a 150 MLD Desalination Plant is being established in Nemmeli at a cost of ₹1,517 crore, benefiting 9 lakh people. The works are nearing completion and the plant will be operationalised, he said.

The State plans to construct Kalaignar International Convention Centre spanning 3 lakh sq ft at Muttukadu on the East Coast Road. This centre will be equipped with amenities to host international exhibitions and conferences. With a conference hall accommodating 5,000 persons, an exhibition hall with capacity of 10,000 persons, meeting halls, and an art gallery, this convention centre will be an iconic structure in Singara Chennai, the minister said.

Furthermore, a 27-storied building is to come up opposite to the Central railway station--the main railway station of the Chennai. The iconic building with heritage design, of about 10 lakh sq ft will be put up at a cost of ₹688 crore by a joint venture of Chennai Metro Rail Ltd and the state’s industrial promotion agency, TIDCO. The building will cater to the office space needs of public sector, commercial enterprises and IT companies.