World Bank eyes Chennai for long-term engagement: Raj Cherubal, CEO, CSCL

Wondering why some proposed Smart City projects in Chennai are rarely mentioned and seem far from fruition? Rest assured, for work on these are also on, behind the scenes, so as to ensure quality and lasting success. Continuing our series of interviews with smart city chief, Raj Cherubal.

Did you know the pedestrian plaza was conceptualised at least eight years ago and precedes the launch of the Smart Cities Mission? Many projects that have grown under the Smart City umbrella, such as the rejuvenation of water bodies, stem from ideas that were incubated and nurtured for years before they saw concrete action.

While citizens only monitor the visible progress of work on projects, the behind-the-scenes engagement by officials and processes involved, such as preparation of detailed project reports and consultations with stakeholders, are vital to the success of the efforts at a later stage, though often time-consuming. 

Raj Cherubal, CEO of Chennai Smart City Limited speaks about the various ideas that have come to light under the Smart City efforts — why some of them have seen reasonably fast execution while others remain pending, such as  wide roll out of smart electricity metering.

Cutting edge projects that are unique to Chennai also have to make calculated decisions — such as on choice of technology or the methodology to be pursued. These decisions are not made on the basis of what happens in other cities, but explore solutions that will be suitable under the prevailing local conditions and also what will stimulate positive adoption by the people whose problems they address.

Raj is optimistic; he feels that the city’s progress under the Smart Cities Mission will depend on a combination of political will and demands from the people, based on current projects. Funding agencies have also begun looking at Chennai as a destination for long-term engagement, especially in the areas of transport and water.

Watch the full interview here to learn more about the challenges and hopes for the city as the Smart City projects progress:

[Interviewed by Laasya Shekhar]

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