Chennai: The State has zeroed in on two options suggested by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) as it plans to expand the Chennai Metropolitan Area. CMDA sources told Express that the State government is studying two different models — either to add another 3,270 square km to the Chennai Metropolitan Authority’s extent of 1,189 square kilometre or totally extend it by 8,878 square km.
Under the first option, the planning area will fall within a radius of about 50 km for the Chennai Central Business District and will contain the whole of the Chennai District, Gummidipoondi, Ponneri, Ambattur, Thiruvallur and Poonamallee taluks of the Thiruvallur district, and Tambaram, Sriperumbudur and Chengalpattu taluks of the Kancheepuram District extending up to 4,459 square km. The second option includes the whole of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts and the Arakkonam taluk of Vellore district, which extend to a total of 8,878 square km.
The objective of expansion of the CMDA is to earmark areas for economic development and generate employment, and also for providing infrastructure integrated with major land use patterns to serve the region besides providing for a system of hierarchy of settlements in the region, assessing their development potentials and assigning activities for further growth.
The state has zeroed in on two options suggested by CMDA as it plans to expand the Chennai Metropolitan Area.
However, the biggest challenge for the authorities will be how to regulate development in such a vast area. According to sources, as the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Act provides for constitution of a regional planning authority, it will be grossly inadequate for the proposed Chennai Mega Regional Planning and Development to handle such a bigger area.
“The provision contained in the Act is for district-level regional planning, and not for planning for a region like Chennai where the constitution of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority itself is in a much higher order than a Regional Planning Authority set up as contained in the Act,” CMDA sources said.
As such the government is studying two alternatives. The first includes enacting a separate act as that of National Capital Region or Bangalore Regional Planning Authority Act and have a separate institutional set up higher than the CMDA. The other option includes expanding the Chennai Metropolitan Area covering a proposed region as done in Hyderabad and Mumbai, and make the proposed regional planning area fall under the jurisdiction of CMDA. Sources feel the second option is better when compared to the first one as the first alternative will involve a time consuming process of drafting a new Act.