Chennai metropolitan area

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Greater Chennai
Chennai Metropolitan Area
Detroit of Asia / SaaS Capital of India / Health Capital of India / Gateway of South India
Country India
StateTamil Nadu
Core cityChennai
 • Metropolitan Area5,904 km2 (2,280 sq mi)
 • Urban
1,189 km2 (459 sq mi)
 • Metropolitan Area15,900,000 (approx.)
 • Density11,422/km2 (29,580/sq mi)
 • Urban
Demonym(s)Chennaivasi, Chennaiite
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (Indian Standard Time)
The CMDA masterplan for the unexpanded metropolitan area

The Greater Chennai Metropolitan Area, or simply the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA), is the third-most populous metropolitan area in India, the 22nd-most in Asia, and the 40th-most in the world. The CMA consists of the core city of Chennai, which is coterminous with the Chennai district, and its suburbs in Kanchipuram (except Uthiramerur taluk), Chengalpattu (except Madurantakam and Cheyyur taluks), Thiruvallur (except Pallipattu, RK Pet and parts of Tiruttani taluks), and Ranipet (parts of Arakkonam taluk) 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 1,189 km2 (459 sq mi) 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. But in October 2022 the area of CMA was expanded five-fold to 5,904 km2 (2,280 sq mi).


Recent estimates of the economy of the Chennai metropolitan area (which includes the industrial zones) is over US$200 billion (PPP GDP), making it the third most productive metro area of India, and the third highest by GDP per capita. Previously, the metropolitan area didn't include the nearby industrial zones of Siruseri, Oragadam, and Sriperumbudur, due to which the economy of these regions didn't get included in the economy of Chennai. Now, post expansion of the Chennai metropolitan area in 2022, these regions are included, and the GDP of Chennai which was previously around US$86 billion has increased drastically to over US$200 billion.


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 2 municipal corporations, 7 municipalities and 14 smaller town 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, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur have lacked organised development.

The CMA comprises the city of Chennai and its neighbourhood corporations of Avadi and Tambaram, 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 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, part of Chengalpattu 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 into the 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.[4]

Nodal agencies[edit]

Sn Agency Responsibility
1 Greater Chennai Corporation (Madras Corporation), Avadi Corporation, Tambaram Corporation, Kanchipuram 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, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Bus Transport
4 CMRL Metro rail transport department
5 Chennai City Traffic Police, Avadi Traffic Police, Tambaram Traffic Police, and district traffic police of Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu & Ranipet districts 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 Southern Railway Chennai suburban railway and Chennai MRTS

Municipal corporations[edit]

  1. Greater Chennai Corporation
  2. Avadi Municipal Corporation
  3. Kanchipuram Municipal Corporation
  4. Tambaram Municipal Corporation


  1. Guduvancheri
  2. Mangadu
  3. Kundrathur
  4. Poonamallee
  5. Thiruverkadu
  6. Thiruninravur
  7. Tiruvallur
  8. Tiruttani
  9. Maraimalai Nagar
  10. Chengalpattu
  11. Ponneri
  12. Arakkonam


  1. Chennai (Complete)
  2. Chengalpattu (Except Madurantakam and Cheyyur taluks)
  3. Kanchipuram (Except Uthiramerur taluk)
  4. Tiruvallur (Except Pallipattu, RK Pet & parts of Tiruttani taluks)
  5. Ranipet (Parts of Arakkonam taluks)


The CMDA has proposed to trifurcate the CMA into Central, North and South.[5]

CMA Central[edit]

The former jurisdiction of CMA covering 1,189 sqkm would be juridiction the CMA Central which spread over the below areas:

In 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

In Chengalpattu district

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

In Kanchipuram district

  1. Kundrathur (partial)

In Tiruvallur district

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

CMA North[edit]

The proposed CMA North will cover an area of 2,908 sqkm which spread over the below areas:

In Tiruvallur district

  1. Gummidipoondi
  2. Poonamallee (partial)
  3. Ponneri (partial)
  4. Tiruvallur
  5. Tiruttani (partial)
  6. Uthukottai

In Kanchipuram district

  1. Sriperumbudur

In Ranipet district

  1. Arakkonam (partial)

CMA South[edit]

The proposed CMA South will cover an area of 1,809 sqkm which spread over the below areas:

In Chengalpattu district

  1. Chengalpattu
  2. Tirukalukundram
  3. Thiruporur
  4. Vandalur (partial)

In Kanchipuram district

  1. Kundrathur (partial)
  2. Kanchipuram
  3. Walajabad


Proposed expansion of the CMA (with old district borders)

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.[6][7]

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.[8]

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

  • The first option includes the 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 Ranipet 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.[9] 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.[10]

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 Ranipet 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.[11][12]

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.[13][14][15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

In October 2022 the area of CMA was expanded five-fold to 5,904 km2 (2,280 sq mi) making it 4th largest Metropolitan city.[18]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority". Government of Tamilnadu, India. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  2. ^ "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. ^ Hemalatha, Karthikeyan (10 November 2012). "40 Chennai lakes to get a new lease of life". The Times of India. Chennai. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Chennai Metropolitan Area to be trifurcated, will cover 5,904 sqkm". 28 September 2022. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  6. ^ "The Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 35 of 1972)" (PDF). Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  7. ^ Aloysius Xavier Lopez (10 November 2012). "Challenging times for building panel". The Hindu. Chennai.
  8. ^ "Final call on Greater Chennai by fiscal year-end". IBN Live. 26 August 2011.
  9. ^ C Shivakumar (10 August 2012). "Cities / Chennai : Push to expand Chennai metropolitan area". New Indian Express.
  10. ^ A. Srivathsan (28 October 2011). "Cities / Chennai : Delhi planning model proposed for city". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  11. ^ "Metropolitan Area set to expand". The Hindu. 4 July 2017 – via PressReader.
  12. ^ Mariappan, Julie (4 July 2017). "5-year wait ends, Chennai finally set for seven-fold expansion". The Times of India. TNN.
  13. ^ "Your word matters in Chennai's expansion". The New Indian Express. 6 February 2018.
  14. ^ Dabrai, Rohit (31 January 2018). "Chennai Metropolitan Area".
  15. ^ Krishnan, S (22 January 2018). "G.O. (Ms) No.13" (PDF). Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  16. ^ "The Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 (Tamil Nadu Act 35 of 1972)" (PDF). Government of Tamil Nadu. 1971.
  17. ^ Kabirdoss, Yogesh (5 April 2018). "CMDA to seek public opinion on Chennai expansion, clear doubts". The Times of India.
  18. ^ "Order issued for expansion of Chennai to 5,904 sq. Km; over 1,200 villages set to be added". The Hindu. 21 October 2022.

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