Chennai Metropolitan Area to be trifurcated, will cover 5,904 sqkm

The previous AIADMK government has planned to increase the CMA from 1,189 sqkm to 8,878 sqkm making it the second largest city in the country.
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (Photo | EPS)
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (Photo | EPS)

CHENNAI: The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has proposed to trifurcate the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA), currently spread across 1,189 sqkm, into Chennai Metropolitan Area Central encompassing core city areas and Chennai Metropolitan Area North and Chennai Metropolitan Area South.

The previous AIADMK government has planned to increase the CMA from 1,189 sqkm to 8,878 sqkm making it the second largest city in the country. The new DMK government, however, has decided to rework the plan and extend the city’s metropolitan area to up to 5,904 sqkm.

According to sources, a review meeting to be held under Chief Minister M K Stalin on the proposed expansion of the CMA on Tuesday has been postponed to next month, and is likely to be held after pooja holidays (October 4 and 5).

The proposed third master plan will not cover the extended areas and separate regional plans will be prepared for their development, officials said. The Chennai Metropolitan Area North will consist of eight taluks covering an area of 2,908 sqkm spread over Gummidipoondi, Ponneri, Uthukottai, Tirutanni (partly), Arakonnam (partly), Thiruvallur, Poonamallee (partly) and Sriperumbudur. The CMA South will extend over an area 1,809 sqkm .

‘First justify the need for expansion of CMA’

It will cover Kancheepuram, Walajabad, Chengalpattu, Thirukalukundram, Thiruporur, Kundrathur (partly) and Vandalur (partly) taluks. The two CMAs will have their respective regional offices. The planning wing of the Directorate of Town and Country Planning in the expanded areas may be merged with CMA Central, sources said.

Former Anna University professor of urban engineering K P Subramanian said the CMDA should first justify the need for expansion of the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area. “They must institute an independent and impartial committee to decide on the issue with expert input and public consultation.

The CMDA couldn’t accomplish even certain legal obligations and a large number of projects formulated in I and II Master Plans. The expansion would only result in urban sprawls and indiscriminate conversion of fertile agricultural lands to urban development leading to environmental degradation and ecological inequilibrium,” says the former professor.

“In the above situation it’s not clear as to why the CMDA is determined to expand after aborting the master plans already in force and dissolving the existing Local Planning and the New Town Development Authorities operating in the area proposed to be expanded” he added.

Association of Professional Town Planners (APTP) president K M Sadanandh said the trifurcation won’t make any change. Chennai Metropolitan Area should analyse its own capacity and then go in for expansion. “It should assess growth potential and plan for the next 20 years as the expansion is about four and half times the original size. The focus should be on how such a large area could be administered. It should involve almost all the departments and not just a few agencies,” he said.

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