Chennai secured the first spot under the quality of life category in the Ease of Living Index 2020 (AP (File))
Chennai secured the first spot under the quality of life category in the Ease of Living Index 2020 (AP (File))

Chennai fourth best city to live in, Coimbatore secures seventh spot

  • Centre releases 2020 ‘Ease of Living Index’, experts cite women safety, transportation to explain outcome
By Divya Chandrababu, Hindustan Times, Chennai
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 04:04 PM IST

Chennai ranked fourth while Coimbatore was placed on the seventh position in the million-plus (population) cities category in the Ease of Living Index released by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday.

Chennai secured the first spot in the quality of life head. Citizens attributed the result to a range of factors – from the safety of women to communal harmony to the presence of an active civil society.

“Life is peaceful in Chennai,” Nanditha Krishna, president of C P Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, said.

“We often hear about riots and lynchings in other parts of the country. It is good to see none of it in Chennai. It is also a lot safer for women. Travelling late night isn’t a problem unlike in Delhi,” Krishna, who is an author, historian, environmentalist and a recipient of the Centre’s Nari Shakti Puraskar 2015, said.

She added: “The lifestyle here is laid-back which is important because you don’t always have to be in a rush to board trains like in Mumbai. It isn’t too expensive for a middle-class person. Indulging in music, dance and fine arts is a part of one’s culture here.”

The resilience here is often listed as a top quality, particularly in terms of the civil society’s management and relief work during the 2015 floods and the Covid-19 pandemic.Che

Citizens attributed Chennai's 4th rank to a range of factors - from safety of women to communal harmony(HT Graphics)
Citizens attributed Chennai's 4th rank to a range of factors - from safety of women to communal harmony(HT Graphics)

Chennai’s IT-corridor along the expanded parts of the city in Old Mahabalipuram (OMR) is a mix of employees from across the country as well as those from Japan and Korea.

In terms of the “mobility index”, the city’s performance has been “driven by the large presence of its public transport system,” the survey said, putting it down as the best in the country. The survey attributed this to Chennai’s well-connected and economical public transport system.

“Chennai is one of the few cities in the country that is largely connected with a high frequency in its public transport system of buses. This is well complemented by the suburban railways, metro and MRTS,” Awasthy Dilip, senior programme manager of Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), said.

In 2014, the Greater Chennai Corporation adopted a non-motorised transport system policy.

“Over the last five years, Chennai has prioritized pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users,” Dilip said.

“More than 100 km of streets have been made safe for pedestrians. The city has piloted a pedestrian plaza at T Nagar, a parking management system and connectivity to public transportation through cycle-sharing systems, including electric cycles. These are difficult initiatives which see push back but it’s a great step for Chennai to test these initiatives. We are in a good place but we need to improve and do way better.”

The results are a reflection of development projects combined with sustainable efforts, the state government said.

“Improving solid waste management is a key component of the city corporation,” Harmandar Singh, principal secretary for Tamil Nadu municipal administration and water supply, said.

“Chennai is innovative in energy conservation. We are good at reusing treated water, recycling and upcycling waste. Economic ability is the only area where we are slightly low because they’re accounting for cluster-based economic development which is outside the city where we have automobile facilities,” Singh added.

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