CHENNAI: Six years after it proposed to expand the Chennai Metropolitan Area(CMA), the government is likely to formalise it with a notification on Wednesday. As part of the process, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will prepare a regional plan seeking to boost infrastructure and maintain uniformity in development.
There will be a seven-fold increase in the metropolitan limits covering 8,878sqkm of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts and Arakkonam taluk of Vellore district. In July last year, the state government announced the expansion plan in the assembly.

Connectivity would be one of the thrust areas of the extended CMA as the government gears up to seek public comments regarding the expansion. The extended metropolis is likely to have areas earmarked for infrastructure projects such as a new airport, rail links and highways.

“For a new airport, at least two locations would be earmarked as identified by the AAI. Similarly, location for railway connectivity would be demarcated,” an official with the housing and urban development department told TOI. Even as a proposal for developing a greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur was dropped last year, there are reports that the government was considering a few other sites, including Madurantakam in Kancheepuram district, for the purpose.

It had suggested building a satellite town ring road (STRR) linking Mamallapuramand Gummidipoondi. The 190-km road would cut across Chengalpet, Kancheepuram, Arakkonam and Uthukottai covering the contours of the extended CMA. It also emphasised the need for a railway connectivity running almost parallel to the STRR between Chengalpet and Gummidipoondi via Tiruvallur. “The objective behind having yet another ring road and new railway lines is to develop these areas as investment destinations and decongest the city,” said an official, who is privy to the development.

Urban planners insist that promoting public transport should be the priority. “The core focus must be on the mass rapid transit system and not on promoting private modes of transportation. Else, it would again end up building flyovers to resolve the traffic bottlenecks,” said urban designer Advait Jani.

Former professor of urban engineering, Anna University, KP Subramanian said the government must constitute a separate regional development authority as the CMDA does not have statutory powers for preparing a regional plan.

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