Chennai district expands twice the current size
Six years after the expansion of the city corporation, the state government on Thursday unveiled an ambitious move to expand Chennai district in line with the local body’s jurisdiction. The district’s area has now increased to 426sqkm, more than double the existing 178.6sqkm, adding a population of two lakh within its jurisdiction in the process.
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday launched the expansion programme at his chamber in the secretariat. “It is the spatial integration of governance and delivery. The expansion will facilitate ease of access to government services for residents,” revenue and disaster management secretary BChandra Mohan told TOI.
The state government issued an order to this effect on Thursday, indicating the move’s advantages in areas such as disaster management, election processes, increase in land revenue, social security pension schemes and administrative convenience.
The state took up the expansion plan after concerns were raised over the level of coordination between the corporation and three district collectorsand the inconvenience caused to the public in availing government services.
In a sweet deal for the suburbs, the government on Thursday expanded Chennai district in line with Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), extending its jurisdiction to 426sqkm from 178.6sqkm. For seven years, since the civic body assimilated these once outlying localities in 2011, they remained in the jurisdiction of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts, leaving residents hard putto access government recordsor availof its revenue services — from government certificates to land documents and social security to pension schemes.
Chennai district was formed in 1969 with five taluks and was lastexpandedin 1979withthe addition of villagesof the erstwhile Chengalpet district.
“[The expansion] will be of great help in mounting a coordinated responsetodisaster under a unifiedchain of command,” revenue and disaster management secretary B Chandra Mohan said. Itwillbring two lakh peoplefrom thetaluks of Sholinganallur, Alandur, Maduravoyal, Ambattur, Madhavaram, Tiruvottiyur and Ponneri under Chennai district.
When the corporation was expanded in 2011, the extended areas began approaching the local body for services like sanitation and solid waste management but for revenue
services they had to reach out to far off Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur collectorates. The challenges were exposed during the time of natural disasters, when the corporation had to coordinate with three districtcollectors toimplement a plan regarding land matters and slum development. GCC commissioner D Karthikeyan said there was a “bit of coordination issue” due to different jurisdiction, which could now be done away with. The regional commissioners of thecorporation can coordinatewith the now-reorganised three revenue divisional officers of Tondiarpet, Ambattur and Guindy.
It was an ordeal for elected representatives like Madhavaram MLA S Sudarsanam, who had to visit Tiruvallur collectorate, 40km from his constituency with petitions on crop loans and pension for his electorate, and reach out to Ripon Buildings for garbage disposal. “The added areas will now get priority even for the shifting of overhead power cables,” the DMK MLA said.
Experts hope urban infrastructure planning and implementation will become better, as Chennai collector is the custodian of land records and willbe able to provide required detailstoinfrastructure agencies. Credai TNchapter former president, N Nandakumar, said: “For development of real estate under the affordable housing segment, in due course, these taluks would invariably become part of the Chennai metropolitan landscape, which will be complemented by integration of public transport, workplace and housing.”