Today we traveled to the Corporation of Chennai headquarters. For most of us this building is the equivalent of the city hall. The Corporation of Chennai headquarters is a grand old building originally commissioned in 1913 by Loganatha Mudaliar. It is called the Ripon Building, after Lord Ripon, Governor-General of British India at the time of it’s building. It’s hard to imagine formally dressed early 20th century English gentlemen and women in such a stately building in the heat of humidity of Chennai.
The building is undergoing renovations and you can see how grand it once was as they remove years of plaster and paint. While we were meeting with the mayor and his staff we could hear the construction team hard at work to progress the renovations.
Today our meetings included the Honorable Mayor, Sadai S. Duraisamy; Deputy Mayor P Benjamin; Dr Pingale Joint Commissioner (Works); Dr Vinay’, Deputy Commissioner; and several members of their staff including our project team
Both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor greeted us in traditional Tamil Nadu costume of a dhoti or also known as a vaetti. With introductions we presented the Mayor with a gift of a Smarter Cities hat and bag and a Ghiradelli Cable Car with chocolates.
The Mayor then asked us to share with the Deputy Mayor indicating the very important role the Deputy Mayor has in city government. Our Smarter Cities Business Leader addressed the Mayor and his staff in native Tamil language. As we later progressed the meeting with the staff we moved into English. The Deputy Commissioner was very clear he has very high expectations of the work we are doing here in Chennai. His expectation is that we will deliver a practical and actionable plan to implement after our three weeks. With one week nearly over and two weeks to go – No pressure.