Chennai metropolitan area





Tamil Nadu

Conflict case

Pallikaranai Marshland

Chennai (formerly, Madras), with a total population of 7.2 million (2001), is ranked as the fourth largest urban agglomeration in India and is the capital of the Tamil Nadu State in southern India. Chennai is situated on the eastern seaboard of India. The CMR extends over an area of 1,189 km2 and comprises the Chennai Municipal Corporation, 16 Municipalities, 20 Town Panchayats and 214 villages. It encompasses the Chennai District and parts of Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram Districts.

The city of Madras (present name Chennai) was a small fishing village known as Chennaipatnam, before the British East India Company acquired it in 1639. The laying down of a railway line in 1864 and the completion of the harbour in 1896 converted the nondescript village of Chennaipatnam into a flourishing trade and commerce center in the late 19th century. The Corporation of Chennai (or Madras) is one of the oldest municipal bodies in India. It was established in 1687. During the British rule, Madras was the capital of Madras Presidency. Today, Chennai is recognized as the major export hub in South East Asia and a major automobile manufacturing center in India.

The Chennai Metropolitan Region is dominated by gentle slopes, and sandy, flat terrain. Nearly 58% area is below 16 m a.s.l. The Chennai City and the metro area do not have much of the green cover (< 2%). The two main ecological hot spots in the CMR include the Pallikaranai Marshland (ca. 420 ha) and the Guindy National Park (area 270 ha).

The average population density in CMR is nearly 6042 persons/km2. Nearly 4.3 million inhabitants of CMR live in Chennai City, the core of CMR. The slum population constituted about 19% in the city. Of the total population of Chennai City, about 21.6% were migrants in 2001. In the CMR the percentage of migrants was 22.4% in 2001. About two-third of the migrants were from within the state of Tamil Nadu.

Apart from the usual problems faced by large Asian cities, such as pollution, over-crowding and economic disparity, the Chennai Metropolitan Area is facing acute shortage of water. The shortage of water has reached a crises level in recent years.