Elections are due in under a week in the state. Chennai, being the seat of power, becomes the locus of political campaigning by various parties and the release of manifestos. This year is no different, with election season eliciting promises from all quarters, ranging from the realistic to the seemingly improbable. While candidates in the city have come up with their own promises and shared their vision for their respective constituencies, the broad party manifestos too have laid out a roadmap for Chennai for the coming years.
The Global Shapers Chennai hub, a non-profit volunteer-driven organization has released a web platform, electionpromises.in, that brings together the manifestos and promises made by the political parties contesting in the Tamil Nadu 2021 elections.
At Citizen Matters, we have compiled a list of some of the key promises in party manifestos that could have a direct impact on the life of citizens in Chennai.
AIADMK’s focus on water
The ruling AIADMK’s manifesto has several action items on their agenda that relate to Chennai. Many of them concern the city’s coastal nature.
In order to ensure that the lives and livelihoods of the fisherfolk and those close to the coast are not affected by changes in the coastline, the manifesto promises the erection of a sea wall. To monetise the city’s locational advantage, a world-class sea park is to be created in Chennai.
Along with this, the manifesto promises a facelift for the Kasimedu harbour and creation of a larger wholesale fish market.
With water issues in focus, the manifesto promised more desalination plants. Sewage treatment plants and waste water reuse plants too are to be built across the city.
Flood mitigation measures find a mention, with the promise that flood prevention plans already in the works will be completed.
Apart from this, the manifesto promises the creation of a pharmaceutical park and a fintech park in Chennai, with the aim of creating over 1 lakh jobs.
Increasing the procurement of electric vehicles in public transport, expansion of the metro rail network and the construction of more multi-level parking facilities across the city are other action items for Chennai in the ADMK manifesto.
DMK’s focus on infrastructure
Taking a jibe at the ruling party for not having created more infrastructure projects during their reign, the DMK manifesto makes many promises around the same. The manifesto promises the creation of elevated highways where there is traffic congestion in the city. In addition to that, the party vows to complete the project of expansion of ECR.
A new bus stand had been promised for Siruseri to better serve the satellite towns near Chennai.
In order to ease congestion caused by transportation of cargo, the manifesto states that the party would urge the centre to consider the construction of a sea link near harbour.
In addition to expansion of the metro rail network, plans for extending the MRTS from Thiruvanmiyur to Mahabalipuram have been outlined.
Water comes into the picture in this manifesto too, with a pledge of 5000 crores for the cleaning up and conservation of waterways in the cities of Tamil Nadu.
As part of the larger picture, there is a mention of reviving the project to clean Buckingham canal, making the canal navigable from Ennore to Central and Island Grounds.
A Chennai Metro Flood Management Committee would be set up to look into flooding issues in the city. Volunteers who had given their time and effort during the recent floods will be trained for future operations and recognised for their contribution.
The manifesto has also promised revamping solid waste management in major cities and patta for long time residents of the city, who do not live in environmentally sensitive areas.
MNM’s focus on innovation
Kamal Haasan’s MNM has made a splash this elections, deciding to take on the two major parties in the state. It’s manifesto has a range of promises for the city, covering mobility to infrastructure.
The party has stated plans to revamp transportation and reclaiming the right to the streets for pedestrians and cyclists, prioritising them over motor vehicles. The party manifesto calls for in-situ housing for those who reside in settlements earmarked for eviction and relocation.
The party also intends to clean up the city’s waterways by ensuring sewage and effluents do not mix with the waterways. Once this is done, the plan is to make the waterways navigable and usable, for transportation within the city.
The party also vows to provide clean, piped drinking water for all in the city and wi-fi for all in public spaces.
The setting up of Abdul Kalam Scientific Research Park and Digital Library in Chennai is another agenda item on the manifesto.
There are also promises of procurement of self-driving buses for cities.
Creation of more multi-level parking facilities and increasing the carrying capacity of Chennai airport also find a mention.
To encourage small businesses and cut down red tape, the running licenses issued by local bodies will be abolished if MNM come to power.
Expansion of stormwater drain network, improved sewage treatment coverage are also on the agenda for Chennai.
On climate change risks, flood mitigation and creation of carbon neutral systems are part of MNM’s broad plan for the city.
BJP’s focus on administrative ease
While the BJP, an ally of the AIADMK, makes few mentions of Chennai in its manifesto, one proposal has raised eyebrows. The party has called for the trifurcation of Greater Chennai Corporation along the lines of Delhi to ease administration at the local level.
In addition to this, the manifesto mentions cleaning of the Cooum & modernisation of Kasimedu harbour.