Chennai Regional Development Authority
The Tamil Nadu government is likely to expand the designated Chennai metropolitan area by almost seven times to include some key suburbs and industrial townships with the aim of strengthening their infrastructure. Once the proposal for the Chennai mega region gets official sanction, the state government will set up the Chennai Regional Development Authority (CRDA) to ensure balanced regional development of the area covering about 8,000sqkm, up from the existing 1,189sqkm. Senior state officials have proposed the inclusion of portions of three districts — Sriperumbudur in the west, Kancheepuram in the south and Tiruvallur in the north — in the Chennai metropolitan area. The provisional Census 2011 data shows that Chennai recorded a decennial growth of 7.7%, while the neighbouring Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts grew by 38.69% and 35.25% respectively, indicating a remarkable spurt in the growth of population in city’s suburbs. Officials say unscientific land use has restricted development of the urban area, while housing, transportation, drinking water supply and sewerage system remained below par. Low-cost land in the suburbs brought in many new housing colonies in the recent years. In the last decade, the population of Kancheepuram rose by 11 lakh, while in Tiruvallur it increased by 9.7 lakh, straining Chennai’s infrastructure. The present master plan says that the population of Chennai metropolitan area will touch 1.25 crore by 2026. Migration is the prime reason for the rise in population in Chennai’s neighbouring districts, say officials. People came, not just from the southern districts in search of jobs, but from other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Manipur for construction activities. The draft plan envisages CRDA as a statutory body. It will help develop urban settlements like satellite towns with adequate infrastructure, help evolve regional and sub-regional plans, and formulate policies for the Chennai mega region. It will promote projects for new growth centres; assign population and project infrastructure region-wise, besides preserving the agricultural characters of the region. CRDA will be the state’s equivalent to Delhi’s National Capital Regional Planning Board of the Union Ministry of Urban Development, Mumbai’s Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority. In 2008, Andhra Pradesh set up the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority by expanding its Urban Development Authority to cover 7,100 sqkm. The expanded limits of HUDA now extend to five districts, having nearly 900 villages.