Actively involved in public life for over 20 years, the 47-year-old
Mayor of Chennai is the 44th Mayor of the city, who
entered the corridors of Ripon Building as Mayor, at
the age of 44 in 1996. Meet M K Stalin, the first elected
Mayor of Chennai.
The son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi,
Stalin speaks to www.chennaibest.com in this
As the present set of flyovers are in
the final stage of completion, do you have any plans to construct
present set of flyovers, that is the nine flyovers which are
being constructed in various parts of the city and the one
in Perambur, is the product of detailed discussion in the
Traffic Improvements Committee, based on traffic problem
studies and on how to improve the traffic management system.
Now the issue is that we have completed five flyovers well
ahead of schedule and another four will also be inaugurated
well ahead of schedule, except the one at Perambur. Depending
on these flyovers, it is proposed that we go ahead with seven
more flyovers. The seven more flyovers were also planned in
the initial stages, but they were kept on hold basically for
two reasons - we wanted to finish these ten flyovers and we
also wanted to concentrate on interior roads. Also, because
of the construction of these flyovers the local public and
the travelling public have had some amount of discomfort.
If we had started all seventeen flyovers at one stretch this
would have led to lot of traffic problems.
Now that we have finished these nine flyovers, it is being
discussed in the Traffic Committee to go ahead with five of
the seven proposed flyovers. Two of them have got problems
because the other service agencies are finding it difficult
to shift service lines. Work on the new five flyovers will
What has been planned for the areas
under the mini-flyovers?
from building these flyovers, you would also have noticed
that we have gone for major improvements of the area by allowing
sponsors to come forward and beautify the place. A sponsor
has come forward to put tiles on the flyover that was recently
inaugurated at Radhakrishnan Salai. Similarly, in Peters Road,
at an estimate of almost Rs 38/- lakhs, a major sponsor is
developing a garden. With regard to the Malar Hospital flyover,
we were able to develop traffic islands and fountains. So
we are encouraging corporates to get involved in civic management
of the city. This has actually increased during the last one
year and it has started showing results.
Why are you on frequent walking campaigns?
The walking campaign was basically intended for much larger
issues like Information, Education, and Communication (IEC),
with regard to way of handling waste. The Corporation has
completed four campaigns. People have come forward and brought
to the notice of the administration certain other minor issues
like storm water drains, improvement of roads and those issues
relating to Metrowater. Since all officials are also part
of this walk, it has been very easy addressing these issues.
The response has been tremendous.
What has been the response to the latest
move to privatise Conservancy operations?
As of now the ONYX operations will be restricted to
only three of the city zones. The initial response of the
people towards this operation has been good. The company takes
two or three weeks to settle down, because people have to
get used to depositing waste in the specially designed, moveable
bins. Subsequently, almost three weeks after the initial start,
the overall impact, from both the public-response and the
visual point of view, has been very good.
is the main area that the Corporation needs to concentrate on
Apart from the mini-flyovers and ONYX, the Chennai
Corporation is also seriously involved in improving the
interior roads, which have been damaged due to development
works taken up by other service agencies. So, our attention
this year is exclusively on improving the interior roads.
Further, the Corporation will also look into improvement of
the two landfills at Kodungaiyur and Perungudi.
On an average, how many grievances do
Initially, when I took over as Mayor, we were getting 200
to 300 grievances. During that time the majority of grievances
were related to requirements of storm water drains. For the
last three to four months, the grievances have come down and
now, on an average, we get only 30 to 40 petitions. It is
definitely an improvement. But this does not mean that we
have nothing more to do. Definitely we have many more things
Do you have any proposal for desilting
the city waterways?
waterways involve a number of agencies. The component of the
Public Works Department will be to desilt major canals
like Otteri Nullah, Buckingham Canal and the Cooum.
The Chennai Corporation will desilt 16 minor canals
and also develop a micro-drainage network. The civic body
will further strive to improve and add 312 kms of strategic
storm water drains to make the system work better. The Tamil
Nadu Government is aiming at a muchlarger project, a Rs
1, 700/- crore project which will involve various components.
All these proposals are in the advance stage of discussion
with the Central Government, and once this project
comes through, the problem of waterways will be solved permanently.
In your present tenure, what development
has the city seen ?
Traffic management, which was totally neglected for the past
20-25 years, was brought to centre stage and we were able
to deliver certain projects without cost overruns and time
overruns; for instance the mini-flyovers. The Corporation
is the first Corporation in India, which has gone ahead with
modern methods of garbage removal on such a large scale, using
a private agency.
Compared to the earlier state, when the entire city used
to be waterlogged for days together after rains, we have now
been able to do flood charting and provide storm water drains
at strategic locations to reduce this problem to just a few
hours after the rains.We have also replaced tube lights with
over 30,000 sodium vapour lamps in the city. We have been
able to bring civic issues into the main frame of public discussion.
Finally, I should say that I have encouraged the corporate
sector and the public to come forward and join with the Corporation
and contribute towards the city's improvement.