Chennai Buzz: No gatherings till May 28th | ‘Touch-free’ airport experience | Elephant Gate Bridge progress

Will Tasmac outlets open in Chennai during lockdown 4.0? How will the airport experience of travellers change after the pandemic? Key news highlights from the week that went by

COVID-19 updates: Police dept prohibits gatherings, GCC focusses on slums; Tasmac to remain shut in city, and more…

On May 15th, Tamil Nadu recorded 385 new COVID-positive patients, taking the total number of cases to 10108, according to Tamil Nadu Health Department’s bulletin. Of 385, 309 patients are from Chennai. 

COVID-19 status in Chennai as of May 15. Pic: GCC/Twitter

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, A K Viswanathan, Chennai Police Commissioner, has promulgated Section 41 of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act that prohibits all gatherings, processions, fasts, demonstrations and human chains within Chennai limits till May 28th.

Royapuram, Kodambakkam and Valasaravakkam are the zones that recorded high COVID-positive cases in Chennai. In view of this, the corporation is adopting a new strategy to control the spread. Residents from ten congested areas in Royapuram zone (where around 20 to 80 cases have been reported) will be shifted to community halls. The civic body has further planned to disinfect the houses located in narrow lanes in the contained zones. 

GCC special nodal officer J Radhakrishnan said that around 75% of the infections in the city are from containment zones. He also stressed on the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing. 

The civic body is focussing on slums to contain the virus as a large number of cases have been reported from the slums. It may be noted that eight individuals tested positive on a single day from a slum at Kannappar Thidal in Periamet. Additionally, several settlements in Choolai, like in Asirvathapuram and Thattankulam, also a record-high number of cases. 52 slums in Chennai have been identified as being containment zones.

Thirty-five Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) staffers have tested positive so far. The civic body will give Rs 2 lakh to the workers if they contract the virus while on duty. Ten constables from Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP) tested positive and were admitted to Omandurar Government Hospital. Additionally, a sub-inspector from Chennai’s Intelligence wing and a woman sub-inspector and two women police personnel have also contracted the virus.

Favouring the Supreme Court’s order, the State government announced its decision to re-open Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) after one week. The government, however, made it clear that the outlets operating in the localities falling under Greater Chennai Police limits and neighbouring Thiruvallur district will remain shut. 

A little over a month into the lockdown, the state government transportation bodies have faced an estimated loss of revenue of Rs 12,000 crore. Official data states that 1.6 crore people commute in 21,500 government buses managed by different transport corporations, including Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in Chennai. Authorities state that the department has planned to increase borrowings to meet the dues and loan burden.

Source: The Times of India | The Hindu | The New Indian Express

‘Touch-free’ experience in Airport

In a bid to provide safe travel experience, the Chennai airport plans to implement ‘touch-free’ flying procedure for travellers and staff.

According to airport authorities, passengers need to hand over the ticket copies and identity proofs to the Central Industrial Security Force staff upon entering the airport. Instead, the staff will be seated in a glass booth, with a camera and an LED screen outside the terminal gates. The travellers would be asked to scan the documents on the camera and enter the terminal once the staff approves.

The check-in counters at the airport would be wrapped with glass panels with a small window at its front to ensure no airline staff comes in contact with the travellers directly. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security has made an announcement of doing away with the stamping of boarding passes for safety purposes.

Source: The Hindu

New Elephant Gate Bridge in 13 months

Taking the opportunity provided by the lockdown, the work of pulling down the Elephant Gate Bridge was kickstarted on April 27th. According to officials in Southern Railways, the structure will be rebuilt using steel spans and the length will be increased to accommodate more tracks leading out of Central Station and Moore Market Complex suburban station. Authorities said the new building will be built in 13 months.

Source: The Times of India

[Compiled by Bhavani Prabhakar]


  1. lakshman says:

    the elepahant gate bridge can be finished in 6 months if the tamil nadu govt can fast track or give construction to private
    builders. really cant understand why it takes such a long time to complete this bridge , the koyembedu grade seperator etc. slow pace of these works is unwaranted.

  2. Arakan says:

    It is time the government started home delivery of liquor for premium brands. This could be done under the aegis of Tasmac. Tasmac shops should also be opened in non containment areas in Chennai with same norms as in other parts of TN.

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