Detailed understanding of the
Chennai Master Plan
K.C. Kalai Vendhan
Chennai the fourth largest metropolis in India. Chennai Metropolitan Area
(CMA) extends over 1189 sq.km.and comprises of
•20 Town Panchayats and
•214 villages covered in 10 Panchayats Unions
It encompasses the Chennai District (176 sq.km.), part of Thiruvallur
District (637 sq.km.) and a part of Kancheepuram District (376 sq.km.).
Master Plan Requirements
1. to present a comprehensive, long-range development plan
2. to provide an orderly, professional, and aesthetic development
3. to enable to proceed directly into preparation of Schematic
Design documents for each phase of development.
The elements of a Master Plan identified are:
• goals and policies
• land use
• economic development
• natural resources
• open space and recreation
• services and facilities
• transportation and circulation
Development Planning in Chennai Metropolitan Area
The major plans that had been prepared for Chennai.
(i) General Town Planning Scheme (1957) prepared by Madras Corporation.
(ii) The Madras Interim Plan prepared by D.T.P., Govt. of Tamilnadu.
(iii) Madras Metropolitan Plan 1971-91 (1971) prepared by multi- agency group
and published by RD&LA Dept., Govt. of Tamilnadu.
(iv) Madras Urban Development Project (1974) prepared by MMDA (now CMDA).
(v) Master Plan for MMA (1975) prepared by MMDA (now CMDA)
(vi) Structure Plan for Chennai Metropolitan Area (1980) prepared by CMDA with
Alan Turner & Associates as consultants
The first Master Plan laid down policies and programmes for overall
development of CMA taking long-term view of the requirements.
It dealt with distribution of future population in various parts of
CMA, policies for economic growthand future location of economic
activities, future physical developments, circulation pattern, programmes
for Traffic and Transportation, developments of land use
zoning, requirements of urban infrastructures for the future
population, policies and programmes for sectoral developments and
development control regulations.
The Second Master Plan for CMA – 2026 has brought out Development
Regulations for all developments within the CMA which is a positive sign to attract
development in the slow and medium growth settlements also because of the
provisions such as:
• Permitting multi-storeyed buildings in the rest of the CMA also excluding
the Island Grounds, approved layout areas, Aquifer recharge area and
Redhills catchment area
• Permitting IT buildings and bio-informatics centers in mixed residential,
commercial, institutional use zones
• Defining IT corridor along the Rajiv Gandhi Salai (Old Mamallapuram Road)
• Treating buildings with maximum 6 dwelling units under ‘Ordinary
Building’ category as against the earlier limit of 4 dwelling units
• Accommodating working women’s hostels and old age homes in the
primary residential areas
• Proposing transfer of development rights in cases of road widening
• Providing for restricted developments in aquifer recharge area
• Reducing plot extent or side setback requirements
• Allowing multi-storey buildings (MSBs) along 12 m and 15 m wide roads
with limitations on FSI and height
• Reservation of 10 percent of land for EWS/LIG with dwelling sizes not
exceeding 45 sqm, in the case of special buildings, group developments,
multi-storeyed buildings on land of extent exceeding 1 hectare either
within the site proposed for the development or in a location within a
radius of 2 km from a site under reference
• Allowing additional FSI 0.25 in cases of special buildings and group
developments with dwelling units each not exceeding 45 sqm floor area
Further there are projects in store for the immediate future such as
• Elevated expressway;
• Extension of Corporation limit by including 8 Municipalities, 8 Town
Panchayats and 25 Village Panchayats in CMA;
• Truck terminal at Karunakaracheri and Annambedu villages near
Thiruninravur along Outer Ring Road;
• Sea water desalination plants; and
• Extension of jurisdiction of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and
Sewerage Board for providing water supply and sewerage facilities in
villages outside city limit.
Land use regulation under Master Plan for CMA, 1975:
The land use plan was enforced through a set of regulations under
Development Control Rules, which formed part of the master plan. Any person
intending to make any development is required to apply under Tamil Nadu
Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, and obtain Planning Permission.
The objectives of the plan are to provide for:
(a) Optimum utilization of land by channalising the developments considering the
latest policies and programmes of the Government.
(b) The future needs of the metropolitan area by recognising the existing growth
trends and by suitable allocation of land uses and strengthening the
(c) Preservation and conservation of the ecologically sensitive areas in CMA.
(d) Wide scope for employment generation and economic development
(e) A conducive climate/environment to make Chennai as a primate city.
(f) The sustainable development and improving the quality of life
(g) Efficient transportation net works integrating the land use patterns for
The issues that need to be addressed immediately are the following:
Capacity of almost all roads in the present system is reduced due to poor quality of riding
surface, inadequate pedestrian pavement, poor lighting conditions and lack of properly
Establishment of large of number of IT (Infosys, Wipro, TCS) and IT enabling service
establishments is bound to increase car ownership in the CMA thereby adversely
affecting the traffic condition.
The parking shortage is acute in the CBD area. The demand for parking in CBD is 1.5 to 2
times the supply and the acute shortage of parking supply is pronounced in the
commercial areas of Anna Salai, T.Nagar, Purasawalkam and Mylapore. Parking is
inadequate along the major arterial roads.
Strengthening and expanding the urban rail network including MRTS; Completion and
commissioning of other strategic transport developments such as the ongoing MRTS
Ph.II, Gauge Conversion project, northern segment of NH bypass, missing links to Inner
Ring Road (IRR) and grade separators on IRR would assist in improving the modal share
of rail to increase by 10% and that of bus by 16%.
Improving the capacity of major arterial road corridors such as Anna Salai, Periyar EVR
Salai, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai by exploiting the potentials of Area Traffic Control (ATC)
measures in the initial years including promoting exclusive bus lanes where applicable;
Augmenting the capacity of the major arterial road corridors such as Anna Salai, Periyar
EVR Salai, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai as a whole by constructing elevated road-way / transitway along the median of the road
In the context of rapid urbanization, planning for development of the metropolitan
area deserves utmost importance on par with the city area.
Since the urban areas abutting the city area are targeted by the urbanization
process, projection of future population, planning for achieving a balanced growth in
terms of population density, planning for provision of adequate infrastructure
facilities, strengthening of the institutional mechanisms, monitoring and enforcing of
regulatory measures, planning for in-built mid-course corrective measures and
futuristic planning for adjacent areas outside the metropolitan area need emphasis.
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (2008) Second Master Plan for Chennai
Metropolitan Area – 2026, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, Chennai.
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority. (2004). Development control rules for Chennai
Metropolitan Area, CMDA: Chennai.