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Roaring Ro-Ro facility Noble nonagenarians... Auto components surge… Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Polls and promises Cement prices continue to rise… Waning interest in public discussions… Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel The star of Spencers is no more Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna How Air-India loses customs... Tribute – M V Murugappan Quality education through the PPP mode All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya IPL - no surprise this scam Build close rapport with business leaders Preserving for the future When the President was rendered homeless… A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… A yen for wastage… Tribute Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami The few handicaps... Strengthen the base... A more liberated TN… Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL Contrarian cousins PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Banning booze... Modi storms Silicon Valley Kulandai was a giant R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Why this malaise in medical education? Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Streamlining mandatory third party cover Recognition to role of NBFCs.... The brown list of Venkitaramanan Airlines in India: cost and space The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu TIAM turns a full cycle Fuel for thought When nations steal growth from one another… The rise and rise of KCP Music happens A professional at the helm of IRDA... An inexplicable neglect Pharma – overdose of copying Kinetic Karnataka Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Editor's Notes Demise of a media baron... Come elections, come advertisements... 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The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Delhi returns to BJP Shanti and Sadhana through Music Convulsions in The Hindu L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… B H Kothari - a tribute Where is Rajaji? Making ‘my Amaravati’... Silver Years of Madras Musings An enemy’s enemy is a friend Robber barons everywhere A think tank for Chennai A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… London, London Narayan Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Gay abandon in pricing A rich pool of talent not utilised…. CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Maximising the micro pricing … Multi-faceted Venkat Paytm karo... West Bengal: mindless malignancy Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Delhi is distant Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Muffled voices for merit… Tatas moving out of urea production... Poor quality of university VCs Readers' Mail Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Secularism and anti-Hinduism TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai EVM is tamper-proof Tough task taking states together Should we change the official year? TGS- The king storyteller He saved millions from starvation... A proud Madrasi Fortune for Indian Airlines Don’t seem to feel the pulse… For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Lalu’s envy, India’s pride When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... 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When Ratan Tata visited SRM Wise Presidents PC’s preference for professionals More heat than light More tributes to GR CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Moily’s bold thrust Gas is the way forward A friendly business group Delhi is distant… Solar, solar everywhere … Adharma of opposition politics CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… IAS invades NDDB... Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Tax agriculture Discoms deserve better… There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Intellectual of rare qualities The why of tax incentives Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Vibrant Gujarat An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Mu Sigma – is no more Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Return to king coal for urea... Modi and the lady Another Indian music maestro at the UN The Swadeshi Trump Solar thermal shines… Road development slows down Quality silica from Neyveli Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Align crops to agro climate endowments… Building loyalty through the stomach
 
Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai

The non-cooperative relationship with the Centre has been denying Tamil Nadu opportunities to develop on par with Delhi and Mumbai. In 1998, IE presented R Rajagopalan, the then Chairman and Managing Director of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, as the chief guest at the IE Business Excellence Award function. In a brilliant address, Rajagopalan described the spectacular growth recorded by the Delhi and Mumbai Metro telephones in terms of growth in number of lines, revenues and modernisation. 

MTNL was conceived to get the telephone systems in the four metros out of the mammoth Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) which was engaged with the telecom development of the country as a whole. Chennai and Kolkata, with strong leftist inclinations, did not bother to demand that their metros also be part of MTNL. This meant that the bulk of the profits generated by the Chennai Telephones was utilised by BSNL for telecom development across the country. 

In contrast, MTNL utilised the entire huge revenues and profits generated on the development of telecom in the two metros. The result was obvious: in terms of modernisation, installation of state-of-the-art systems and equipment and laying of cables and towers… Delhi and Mumbai recorded growth many times those of Chennai and Kolkata. But the political leadership just did not bother. 

There is a similar unconcern in the development of the Chennai airport.

Under the UPA-1, Praful Patel planned massive modernisation and expansion of the international airports at the metros. After the initial success in building private airports at Bengaluru and Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai airports were privatised. This brought in  humungous investments of over Rs. 10,000 crore each; these were set up in quick time and today compare well with some of the large international airports in terms of capacity, ambiance and facilities. 

Chennai and Kolkata preferred, as usual, to be content with remaining in the public sector IAAI. One just has to have a look at these airports and compare them with the other two airports to see the difference. For the Chennai airport, IAAI had to depend on the defence ministry and the Tamil Nadu government for acquisition of sizeable areas of land. And these were not forthcoming as per schedule. The state gave up acquisition on protest from the affected property owners. The decision to add new facilities for domestic passengers at the northern end and, for international passengers, at the southern end, leaving the existing old buildings intact, proved a handicap. Lack of resources due to escalation forced them to dispense with multi level car parking. Aligning the metro rail system was not factored in early and properly. A huge bridge was built over the Adyar River to extend the second runway running east to west that would facilitate handling larger aircrafts. But this proved a disaster by arresting the flow of the Adyar river, the impact of which was felt grievously during the December 2015 floods. 

In Delhi too, cost escalated. But GMR, the new owner, assisted the prime contractor L&T with the needed clearances and resources in time that helped open the airport in time for the Commonwealth Games. The lack of such cooperation with the prime contractor Consolidated Construction Consortium (CCC) resulted in delays to complete the construction, with serious design deficiencies in erecting conveyor belts, inadequate bonding of the huge glass modules to withstand vibrations of landing and giving up on the walkalator. CCC failed again in the construction of Chennai metro stations and is on the point of bankruptcy. 

In this background, the recent news on expanding the facilities at the airport by reconstructing the old airport sandwiched between the new domestic and international terminals is welcome. I hope the Tamil Nadu government led by Jayalalithaa would render needed assistance and help Chennai evolve as a prestigious airport of international excellence capable of handling 25 million passengers a year. 


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