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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 24, april 1-15, 2010
All atwitter at
Chennai Corporation
(By M. Ramanathan)

Hold your breath! Chennai Corporation is on twitter ( It’s good to see it embracing the latest in technology, but what is its policy on stopping the employment of humans to clean manholes overflowing with sewage?

Web designing of the site needs improvement, but it is getting there; planned/unplanned maintenance activity is being carried out from time to time and pages are being constantly revamped to meet recommended best practices for webmasters.

It would, however, be nice if a note of warning is put in the Home Page section mentioning that planned/unplanned maintenance work is being done.

* * *

Here are some snippets from the Corporation’s twitter page:

  • In all offices of the Corporation, boards inscribed with Thirukkural will be kept in honour of the renowned Tamil language.
  • 50 main roads in Chennai city will be named after Tamil scholars.

Wonderful. But what real benefits can citizens expect?

Take pedestrian walkways, an integral part in any modern city but missing in Chennai – or ever under repair for improvement by replacing ornamental tiles or for construction of stormwater drains. If you want to know what’s being done to pavements or drains, there’s no answer.

* * *

Moving on to some number-crunching based on Chennai Corporation’s 30-page 2009-2010 budget:

I wonder how the Corporation schools and public libraries in Chennai will be transformed if all the money estimated to be received by the Elementary Education Fund and the Local Library Authority is realised. I’m puzzled why there is no break-up of plans and anticipated expenses.

A quick perusal of various heads of expenses and the money spent on them, as shown under the heading ‘Revenue-Expenditure’, leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, budget estimate and revised estimate for the financial year 2008-2009 and budget estimate for 2009-2010 for the samples shown below are either in 1000s or simply nil.

  • Bridges and Flyovers
  • Traffic Improvements
  • School Buildings – Sanitation
  • Tree Planting Expenses

What does this mean? Are we to assume that the Corporation did not have enough money to spend or it did not find it necessary to spend on developing and improving existing basic infrastructure?

* * *

I request the powers-that-be to take some time and visit the websites of a few cities that are Sister Cities of Chennai (Denver, Colorado, for instance) (

Denver’s 2010 budget has been made available in two formats, the budget as adopted and then a summary for anyone who cannot spare time to read through all the 21 sections as provided in the first format.

I highlight here a few items that caught my attention in the summary.

There is a list of members of the current Council, managerial staff holding key positions and staff of the Department of Finance and Budget and Management office. There are details of the key drivers that guide the city administrators (a couple of them: Better Place to Live and Create Jobs; Customer Service). What I liked the most was the 6-page detailed text on ‘Community Profile and Trends’ – distribution of population (grouped by age, race, gender, and by education level) across the city and county of Denver, economic profile of the citizens of Denver, etc. All this over a 20-year period from 1980 to 2000.


In this issue

This budget causes concern to some
Is this the only way to remember Tamil scholars?
All atwitter at Chennai Corporation
The majesty of Chepauk
Historic Residences of Chennai - 39
Other stories

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your Diary


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