Chennai Buzz: 15% of eligible population vaccinated | New bus routes introduced | Metro undertakes Central beautification work…and more

Weekly recap of important news from Chennai.

Chennai fully vaccinates 15% of eligible population

As on July 20th, data shows that Chennai has the highest percentage of vaccinated population in comparison with metro cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad. While the eligible population of the city is 59.45 lakh, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has fully vaccinated 15% of it (9.11 lakh).

The corporation credits the multipronged initiatives taken by them to reach the number. While people from the tele-counselling centres gave a reminder for people who were due for the second dose, the fever survey workers went door-to-door to reach the vulnerable population. The civic body also set up exclusive camps for the second shot. 

Continuing the efforts, the corporation has charted out strategies to inoculate around 60,000 people who work at 10 malls and 38 street markets in Chennai. While the priority is to vaccinate shop owners and staff, regular shoppers can also get vaccinated if they visit the malls/markets when the vaccination drive is on.

Source: The Times of India | The News Minute

CMRL gets green signal for Central station beautification project

The Southern Railway has given a green signal for the beautification work in front of Central railway station and Moore Market Complex (MMC) planned by the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

Some of the features of the project are facilitating multi-modal integration to link metro rail and MRTS with outstation trains and buses via pedestrian subways, an underground parking facility and a 20-floored central plaza with bus bays. While the work is on for construction of the subway and parking area; CMRL is expected to float a tender to construct the plaza soon. The plaza will have office spaces, a shopping area and hotel, and a waiting lounge for passengers and bus crew.

The beautification work on railway land near Chennai Central and MMC will include landscaping, seating, canopies and pergolas, pathways among others.   

Source: The Times of India

New bus services introduced, Madras HC stalls purchasing of more buses

Enabling better connectivity with the suburban parts of Chennai, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has resumed and introduced more than 17 buses in 12 routes in Porur, Nanganallur and suburban areas of the city. 

Bus services on old routes, including 52K (Nanganallur-Broadway), 70N (Nanganallur-CMBT), M18C (Kilkattalai-T Nagar), 166 (Iyyapanthangal-Tambaram), 88C (Thandalam-Broadway), 188C (Kundrathur-Broadway) and 566 (Kundrathur-Thiruporur), which were discontinued last year, have been reintroduced.

Besides this, the transport corporation has also introduced new routes. They are 576 (Mount Metro-T Nagar), S40 (Cowl Bazar Indra Nagar-Pallavaram), S 165 ( Kovur EB-Pallavaram), S166 (Porur-Manimedu) and 188A (Kundrathur-T Nagar).

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court restrained the Tamil Nadu government from purchasing new buses for public transport unless the vehicle qualifies as disabled-friendly as mandated by the law. The statement was made while hearing a petition against MTC for purchasing only 10% low floor buses and 25% of buses fitted with a lift or other mechanisms.

Source: The New Indian Express | The Hindu

Read more: Why don’t we see electric buses on Chennai roads?

Corporation to collect additional tax from buildings with mobile towers

In the current half-year, the civic body has managed to collect less than Rs 100 crore in property tax due to the pandemic. To ease its financial situation it has been decided that the corporation can collect additional property tax from building owners who have mobile network towers. 

It is to be noted that a motion was passed in the corporation’s special council in 2009 for charging additional tax for owners who have mobile network towers depending on the rent collected by owners from the companies. According to data, 1,739 properties in Chennai have mobile network towers. 

The civic body will collect the tax from owners with arrear amounts accumulated from 2009.

Source: DT Next

Read more: Increasing property tax can be a gamechanger for city: DC, Revenue & Finance

Corporation school strength crosses 1 lakh

Chennai Primary School, Bazar street
Representational Image – Chennai Primary School – Pic Credit Surya Prakash, Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in 10 years, the schools run by the civic body have witnessed a steep hike in the number of students enrolling this year. The admission to Corporation schools was started in mid-June; since then 27,311 new students have been admitted. 

While 30% of the new enrollments are from corporation schools, 70% are from private institutions. The total strength in corporation schools has reached 1,01,757. Civic body officials state that it was in 2011, they had over a lakh students studying in the schools run by them. Following this, the strength saw a downward trend until last year.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has also taken initiatives to boost new admissions. One among them is the door-to-door campaigns undertaken by teachers and headmasters from schools. The administration is also concentrating on enhancing the infrastructure by training teachers in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) tools. The civic body provides financial support to students in class 12 who score high marks in board exams and wish to pursue higher studies. For students pursuing MBBS or BE, Rs 45,000 per year and Rs 7,000 for arts courses is granted. 

Source: The Hindu | The News Minute

[Compiled by Bhavani Prabhakar]

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