CHENNAI: Regional planning for Tamil Nadu got a new lease of life after 50 years with Housing Secretary Hitesh Kumar Makwanna notifiying the rules for preparing plans for 12 regions covering 1.36 lakh sq km in the State. Chief Minister MK Stalin announced the proposal in the Assembly last year.
Under the new rules, the State will constitute a regional planning authority to prepare land and building use maps over the next 18 months. Preparation of regional plans will start in the next 24 months based on the maps.
Regional planning envisages efficient land use, infrastructure, and growth of settlements for a larger area than just an individual city or town. It would focus on location, history, topography, transport, population, age-sex composition, literacy, workforce distribution, zones of development, and industrial, residential and commercial areas in the region.
In 1974, eight regions were demarcated in TN for planned growth, but the plan never took off. The 12 regions identified for regional planning are Chennai Metropolitan Area (1,189 sq km), Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur (6,863 sq km), Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamala (12,263 sq km); Villupuram, Cuddalore, Kallakurichi (10,897 sq km); Salem, Namakkal, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri (18,283 sq km); Tiruchirappalli, Ariyalur, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai (15,753 sq km); Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai (8,254 sq km); Coimbatore, Erode, Tiruppur (15,679 sq km); Nilgiris (2,565 sq km); Madurai, Theni, Dindigul (12,614 sq km); Sivagangai,Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram (12,578 sq km) and Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, Kanniyakumari (13,122 sq km).
K M Sadanand, president, Association of Professional Town Planners, said the rules involving 45 departments are exhaustive and specific. “If these are carried out within the specified timeframe, Tamil Nadu will go to the next level in development. But we have to self-evaluate our town planning record over the last 50 years,” he said.
Former Anna University professor of urban engineering K P Subramanian said the regional plan is an inter-settlement plan, while master plans and detailed development plans are intra-settlement plans. Therefore, they vary in terms of content. “Regional plan rule, however, has certain overlapping contents,” he said. Low-cost housing, night shelters, slum settlements are all intra-settlement issues to be discussed in master plan. Water supply, drainage, sewerage, sewage and solid waste disposal are to be addressed in the master plan and demarcation of objects and buildings of archaeological importance are all micro-level planning to be proposed in the DDPs,” he said.