Chennai metropolitan area

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The Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) (or) Greater Chennai is the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in India, the 22nd-most in Asia, and the 40th-most in the world. The CMA consists of the central city of Chennai and its suburbs distributed in Kanchipuram, Chengpattu and Thiruvallur districts. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is the nodal agency that handles town planning and development within the metro area. Since 1974, an area encompassing 1189 km2 around the city has been designated as the CMA and the CMDA has been designated as the authority to plan the growth of the city and the area around it.

Greater Chennai

Chennai Metropolitan Area
A graphic showing the divisions of the Chennai metropolitan area
StateTamil Nadu
Core cityChennai
 • Metropolitan area1,189 km2 (459 sq mi)
 • Urban
426 km2 (164 sq mi)
 • Metro
8,452 km2 (3,263 sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density1,100/km2 (3,000/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Chennaivasi, Chennaiite
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (Indian Standard Time)
The CMDA masterplan for the CMA


Chennai metropolitan area's economy of US$58.6 billion PPP[4] (US$17 billion nominal GDP, 2010)[5] is currently rated the fourth-largest economy in India, ahead of the Bangalore metropolitan area and after the Kolkata metropolitan area.[note 1]

While no official figure has been given for the population in the newly expanded Chennai metropolitan area, the urban population was estimated to be over 10 million in early 2017.[2][6] The 2011 census figure for the population of the Chennai "UA/Metropolitan region" was 8,653,521.[7]


The CMA is a metropolitan area in Tamil Nadu state, consisting of the state capital Chennai (previously known as Madras) and its satellite towns. Developing over a period of about 20 years, it consists of 8 municipal corporations and 14 smaller municipal councils. The entire area is overseen by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), a Tamil Nadu State Government organisation in charge of town planning, development, transportation and housing in the region. The CMDA was formed to address the challenges in planning and development of integrated infrastructure for the metropolitan region. The areas outside Greater Chennai Corporation (Chennai District) like Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur have lacked organised development.

The CMA comprises the city of Chennai, 8 Municipalities, 11 Town Panchayats and 179 Village Panchayats in 10 Panchayat Unions. The CMA has an area of 1,189 km2.[1] It includes the whole of the Chennai District, along with the Ambattur, Gummidipoondi, Madhavaram, Ponneri, Poonamallee, Avadi and Tiruvallur taluks of the Tiruvallur District, Sriperumbudur and Kundrathur taluks of the Kancheepuram District, Pallavaram, Vandalur and Tambaram taluks of the Chengalpattu district.

The CMA falls in three Districts of the Tamil Nadu State viz. Chennai District, part of Thiruvallur District, and part of Kancheepuram District. The extent of the Chennai District (covered in Chennai Municipal Corporation area) is 426 km2 and comprises 55 revenue villages in 10 Taluks [viz. (i) Tondiarpet Taluk, (ii) Perambur Taluk, (iii) Purasawalkam Taluk, (iv) Egmore Taluk, (v) Mambalam Taluk, (vi) Guindy Taluk, (vii) Mylapore Taluk, (viii) Velachery Taluk, (ix) Aminjikarai Taluk and (x) Ayanavaram Taluk. In Thiruvallur District out of total district area of 3,427 km2, 637 km2. in Ambattur, Thiruvallur, Ponneri and Poonamallee taluks fall in CMA. In Kancheepuram District out of 4,433 km2, 376 km2 in Tambaram, Sriperumbudur and Chengalpattu district fall in the metropolitan area.

CMA region has about 3,000 water bodies, most of which have been encroached upon by real estate dealers and small communities.[8]

The Chennai metropolitan area is set to be expanded further, incorporating the entire districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram, and the Arakkonam taluk, Nemili Taluk of the Ranipet district.[9] In future it may expand further. Plans to expand Chennai Metropolitan Area seven folds from existing 1,189 to 8,878 appears to be scaled down in view of opposition from the farmer in giving up their agricultural lands. The Government is looking at maximum utilization of the available spaces in the core city and urbanized pockets in the suburbs for residential development. Only area well connected with the available rail infrastructure will be included in the expansion plan of CMA. The extent of expansion will be scaled down from 8,878 to 3,000–4,000 [10]

Nodal agencies[edit]

Sn Agency Responsibility
1 Greater Chennai Corporation (Madras Corporation), Avadi Municipal Corporation, Municipalities and Panchayats Civic management in their area of jurisdiction
2 Tamil Nadu Housing Board provision of plots and ready built houses, Sites and Services schemes
3 Metropolitan Transport Corporation Bus Transport
4 Southern Railway Chennai suburban railway and Chennai MRTS
5 Chennai City Traffic Police Traffic Management Schemes
6 Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Electricity generation and supply
7 Public Works Department Implementation & Maintenance of macro drainage system
8 Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority Urban planning, coordination of project implementation
9 Chennai MetroWater Supply and Sewage Board Water Supply & Sewerage facilities for CMA
10 Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board Provision of housing, infrastructure and livelihood programs in slum areas
11 Aavin Co-operative society Providing Milk through co-operative society to the people of Chennai
12 CMRL Metro rail transport department

Municipal corporations[edit]

  1. Avadi Municipal Corporation
  2. Greater Chennai Corporation


  1. Poonamallee
  2. Thiruverkadu
  3. Pallavaram
  4. Tambaram
  5. Pammal
  6. Anakaputhur
  7. Sembakkam


  1. Chennai district (complete)
  2. Kanchipuram district (partial)
  3. Tiruvallur district (partial)
  4. Chengalpattu district (partial)


from Chennai district

  1. Alandur
  2. Ambattur
  3. Aminjikarai
  4. Ayanavaram
  5. Egmore
  6. Guindy
  7. Madhavaram
  8. Maduravoyal
  9. Mambalam
  10. Mylapore
  11. Perambur
  12. Purasawalkam
  13. Sholinganallur
  14. Thiruvottiyur
  15. Tondiarpet
  16. Velachery

from Tiruvallur district

  1. Poonamallee
  2. Ponneri (partial)
  3. Tiruvallur (partial)
  4. Avadi

from Kanchipuram district

  1. Sriperumbudur (partial)
  2. Kundrathur (partial)

from Chengalpattu district

  1. Pallavaram
  2. Tambaram
  3. Vandalur (partial)


Proposed expansion of the CMA (chosen option)

The CMDA regulates developments in the Chennai metropolitan area through the issuance of planning permission under section 49 of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act 1971.[11][12]

The first plans to expand the CMA were proposed by the CMDA in 2011. The need for expansion arose as several nearby settlements such as Sriperumbudur, Kelambakkam, Tiruvallur and Maraimalai Nagar had been undergoing rapid development and had to be incorporated under the CMDA planning strategy. Also, the planning bodies of other metropolises in India such as Bengaluru, New Delhi and Hyderabad had already redefined their respective metropolitan regions to include much larger areas and corresponding regional planning was being done. The CMA, however, has not been altered since it was first defined in 1974. The area was limited to 1,189 km2 (459 sq mi) which is among the smallest in the country.[13]

In July 2012, the CMDA suggested two options to the Government of Tamil Nadu for expanding the area:

  • The first option includes whole of the Chennai district, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Poonamallee, Ponneri, Gummidipoondi, Uthukottai, and Thiruvallur taluks of the Tiruvallur district, and Alandur, Pallavaram, Tambaram, Sholinganallur, Chengalpattu, Thiruporur, and Sriperumbudur taluks of the Kancheepuram district extending up to 4,459 km2 (1,722 sq mi).
  • The second option includes the whole of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts and the Arakkonam taluk of Vellore district and extends to a total of 8,878 km2 (3,428 sq mi).

Chief planners of the CMDA have suggested that the second option is more feasible.[14] Another planning model, similar to the National Capital Region was also examined by the CMDA. In order to plan for balanced regional development, developing a larger road network, implementing an integrated transport plan and identifying a Chennai Mega Region have become necessary.[15]

On 3 July 2017 the Government of Tamil Nadu's minister for housing and urban development, Udumalai K. Radhakrishnan announced its intention to expand the CMA to 8,878 km2 (3,428 sq mi). The extension will cover all of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts and Arakkonam taluk of Vellore district, as proposed in July 2012. Having completed a feasibility study, a "strategic regional plan" was now required, and completion of the whole process was expected by July 2018.[16][17]

On 22 January 2018 the Government of Tamil Nadu issued order G.O. (Ms) No.13 to "declare the intention to include additional areas in the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area" under section 2, clause (23-a) of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 35 of 1972). The additional areas to be included were as proposed by the CMDA in 2017.[18][19][20] Under Tamil Nadu Act 35 the Tamil Nadu government is required to allow reasonable opportunity (two months according to §10.3) for inhabitants, local authorities and institutions in the area to comment upon or object to such an expansion proposals.[21] Although less than 100 objections to the expansion plans were received, a public interest litigation action was launched at the Madras High Court in March 2018.[22]


  1. ^ Rankings of cities by metropolitan area GDP can vary as a result of differences in the definition of the boundaries and population sizes of the areas compared and the method used to calculate output

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority". Government of Tamilnadu, India. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b "World Urban Areas 13th Annual Edition" (PDF). Demographia. April 2017.
  3. ^ "India Stats: Million plus cities in India as per Census 2011". Press Information Bureau, Mumbai. National Informatics Centre. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Global city GDP 2013-2014". Brookings Institution. Archived from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ "The Most Dynamic Cities of 2025". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Chennai Metropolitan Region". 2013.
  7. ^ "Chennai Metropolitan Urban Region Population 2011 Census".
  8. ^ Hemalatha, Karthikeyan (10 November 2012). "40 Chennai lakes to get a new lease of life". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  9. ^ C Shivakumar (24 August 2015). "Chennai Expansion Could Be Tricky, Suggests History". The New Indian Express.
  10. ^ Yogesh Kabirdoss (11 January 2019). "Government may scale down metropolis expansion". The Times of India.
  11. ^ "The Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 35 of 1972)" (PDF). Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  12. ^ Aloysius Xavier Lopez (10 November 2012). "Challenging times for building panel". The Hindu. Chennai.
  13. ^ "Final call on Greater Chennai by fiscal year-end". IBN Live. 26 August 2011.
  14. ^ C Shivakumar (10 August 2012). "Cities / Chennai : Push to expand Chennai metropolitan area". New Indian Express.
  15. ^ A. Srivathsan (28 October 2011). "Cities / Chennai : Delhi planning model proposed for city". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  16. ^ "Metropolitan Area set to expand". The Hindu. 4 July 2017.
  17. ^ Mariappan, Julie (4 July 2017). "5-year wait ends, Chennai finally set for seven-fold expansion". The Times of India. TNN.
  18. ^ "Your word matters in Chennai's expansion". The New Indian Express. 6 February 2018.
  19. ^ Dabrai, Rohit (31 January 2018). "Chennai Metropolitan Area".
  20. ^ Krishnan, S (22 January 2018). "G.O. (Ms) No.13" (PDF). Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  21. ^ "The Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 35 of 1972)" (PDF). Government of Tamil Nadu. 1971.
  22. ^ Kabirdoss, Yogesh (5 April 2018). "CMDA to seek public opinion on Chennai expansion, clear doubts". The Times of India.

External links[edit]