Greater Chennai Corporation

Greater Chennai Corporation
பெருநகர சென்னை மாநகராட்சி
The logo of the Greater Chennai Corporation
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Corporation Commissioner
D. Karthigeyan IAS
B. Maheswari IAS
Meeting place
Ripon Building

The Chennai Municipal Corporation (officially the Greater Chennai Corporation[1]), formerly known as the Corporation of Madras, is the civic body that governs the city of Chennai (formerly Madras), India. Inaugurated on 29 September 1688, under a Royal Charter issued by King James II on 30 December 1687 as the Corporation of Madras, it is the oldest municipal body of the Commonwealth of Nations outside Great Britain.[2] It is headed by a mayor, who presides over 200 councillors each of whom represents one of the 200 wards of the city.[3] It is also the second oldest corporation in the world,[4] after the city of London.


The Madras Corporation is the oldest municipal body of the Commonwealth of Nations outside the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1688 to control the powers of the Governor of Madras, Elihu Yale.[5] The Corporation was created by a Royal Charter issued on 30 December 1687 by King James II on the advice of the chairman of the East India Company, Josiah Child, on the model of Dutch Government in the East Indies.[6] The charter constituted the existing town of Fort St. George and all the territories belonging to the town, not exceeding a distance of ten miles from the Fort, into a Corporation. The Parliamentary Act of 1792 conferred the new Corporation power to levy municipal taxes in the city. The municipal administration also commenced from this act, making provision for the administration of the city. The Municipal Act continued to be amended, constantly introducing major changes in the constitution and powers of the Corporation from time to time.[6]

Prior to the establishment of the corporation, the Governor of Madras or the Company's agent managed the affairs of the Fort St George and its residents with the assistance of a headman, an accountant, and the head of watch and ward. The Governor sat as Madras's Justice of the Peace. Taxes were introduced by Governor Streynsham Master (1678–1681). Complications arising out of these impositions and the growing expenses of an expanding town led to Sir Josiah drawing up plans for a more formal body of civic administration. The Corporation was inaugurated on 29 September 1688 with power to decide on petty cases, levy rates upon the inhabitants for building of schools, a town hall and a jail, when the new Mayor, 12 Aldermen and 60 Burgesses took their oaths.[6] The first members of the Corporation were representatives from diverse ethnicities. Nathaniel Higginson was the first Mayor, and he appointed representatives from the English, Scottish, French, Portuguese, and Indian mercantile communities as Aldermen. The post of the Mayor was held for one year at a time, the Mayor being elected by the Aldermen, whose term of office was for life.

By 1856, the duties of the Corporation became more clearly defined. In 1919, the Aldermen were re-styled as 'Councillors'. The title of 'Mayor' had been replaced by 'President', and P. Theagaraya Chetty was nominated as President, the first Indian to be so chosen. However, the office of Mayor was re-created in 1933, when Kumararajah M. A. Muthiah Chettiar made the transition from last President to first new Mayor. The mayoralty has remained thereafter.

By 1901, the Corporation had grown to encompass an area of 68 sq km comprising 30 territorial divisions with a population of 540,000.[7] In 1913, the Corporation moved to the newly constructed Ripon Building, which was built on parts of the People's Park. The building was named after Lord Ripon who, as Viceroy of India from 1880 to 1884, had introduced local government reforms. He is remembered in a statue in the Corporation precincts. The first native Indian to both govern the Madras Presidency and later serve as Mayor of erstwhile Madras was the Honourable L. Sriramulu Naidu, who served during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1978, the boundaries of the area administrated by the Corporation was increased to 174 sq km.[7]

The Madras Municipal Corporation Act, 1919 (as amended) provides the basic statutory authority for the administration now.[6]


In October 2011, the expansion process was initiated before the elections to the corporation council in October. In this move, 42 small local bodies, including 9 municipalities, 8 town panchayats and 25 village panchayats, were merged with Chennai Corporation, taking the area up by 140% to 426 km2 from the earlier 176 km2.[7][8] Some areas have been arbitrarily left out, to the discontent of the residents of those areas.[9] The new expanded Corporation of Chennai has 200 wards, an increase of 45 wards.[10] Elections were held for the expanded corporation in October 2011.

The erstwhile municipalities that became a part of expanded Chennai Corporation are Kathivakkam, Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Maduravoyal, Valasaravakkam, Alandur and Ullagaram- Puzhudhivakkam.

The erstwhile town panchayats that became a part of expanded Chennai Corporation are Chinna Sekkadu, Puzhal, Porur, Nandambakkam, Meenambakkam, Perungudi, Pallikaranai and Sholinganallur.

The erstwhile panchayat unions that became a part of expanded Chennai Corporation are Edayanchavady, Sadayankuppam, Kattapakkam, Theeyampakkam, Mathur, Vada Perumbakkam, Surapet, Kathirvedu, Puthagaram, Nolambur, Karambakkam, Nerkundram, Ramapuram, Mugaliwakkam, Manapakkam, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai, Injambakkam, Karapakkam, Okkiam Thoraipakkam, Madipakkam, Jaladampet, Semmanchery and Uthandi.

In 2016 January chief minister inaugurated greater Chennai corporation limit will extend up to Municipality like Tambaram and Tambaram Taulk region follows, Town panchayat like chitlapakkam,sembakkam,madambakkam, perungalathur, peerkankaranai and Census Town like Mudichur Other sripembudur and Chengalpattu taulk Panchayat villages Vandalur, mannivakkam, varadharajapuram likely to add in Greater Chennai corporation New City Limit.


The council is headed by the Mayor and the council normally meets once a month. The executive wing is headed by the Commissioner. In addition, there are deputy commissioners, various heads of departments and 15 zonal officers.[6]

Administrative divisions

15 Zones of the Chennai Corporation after expansion

The city is classified into three regions: North Chennai, Central Chennai and South Chennai.[11] It is further divided into 15 zones, consisting of 200 wards.[12] The newly annexed areas were divided into 93 wards, and the remaining 107 wards were created out of the original 155 within the old city limits.[13] As of September 2011, the new wards are yet to be named.[12] Out of the 200 wards, 26 were reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and 58 were reserved for women.[13]

The 15 Zones are:

North Chennai

Central Chennai

South Chennai


The Corporation has the following departments:[14]

S.No. Department Headed by Responsibility
1 Council Council Secretary Functions as the Secretariat of the Council, the Mayor and the various standing committees. Aids the Mayor in the discharge of his duties as well as the Council and Standing Committees.
2 General Administration Assistant Commissioner In charge of the personnel and administrative matters for the Corporation as a whole
3 Financial Management Financial Adviser Preparation of Corporation budget, receiving loans and grants from the government and overseeing and controlling the expenses of the Corporation
4 Land & Estate District Revenue Officer Leasing out Corporation lands and buildings and renting out shopping complexes
5 Revenue Revenue Officer Collection of taxes such as property, professional, advertisement, parking fees and other taxes. At the head office, change of name of ownership of properties, revision petitions against fixation of tax review of progress in collection of taxes and scrutiny and approval of assessment proposals.
6 Works City Engineer Town planning, sanction of plan and permits (up to first floor) for industrial and residential buildings, and maintenance of private streets and central asphalt plant and central yard.
7 Mechanical Engineering Superintending Engineer (Mechanical) Purchase and maintenance of all vehicles of the Corporation, attending to body building and repairing of lorries, and purchase and maintenance of school and office furniture. The Printing Press, General Stores, and General Workshop of Corporation function under the control of this department.
8 Electrical Superintending Engineer (Electrical) Installation and maintenance of all street lights, laying of cables, and maintenance of electric crematoriums
9 Solid Waste Management Superintending Engineer Removal of solid waste and executing night conservancy in all important roads and commercial areas of the city
10 Buildings Superintending Engineer Construction of school buildings, public conveniences, community halls, shopping complexes and hospitals
11 Storm Water Drain Superintending Engineer Construction, maintenance and desilting of storm water drains
12 Bridges Superintending Engineer Construction and maintenance of bridges, causeways and subways
13 Health Medical Officer Administration of dispensaries, public health, sanitation, prevention of food adulteration, issue of birth, death, and sanitation certificates
14 Family Welfare Medical Officer Administration of maternity and child welfare centers, family welfare and immunization programmes
15 Education Education Officer Administration of schools from elementary to higher secondary levels, community colleges and nutritious meals centers
16 Parks & Play Fields Director, Urban Forestry Wing
(assisted by two Park Superintendents and one Stadia Officer)
Maintenance of parks, play fields, and swimming pools

Chennai Corporation Flag

During the British period the Madras Corporation flag had the ‘sea, boat, 3 lions and 2 fish’. The 3 lions represented the British and the sea, boat, and fish denoted the seashore of madras. After Independence, the need for changing the flag arose. M.P. Sivagnanam (Ma. Po. Si.) who was heading the education wing of the corporation suggested the Pandiya, Chola, Chera’s symbol ‘Fish,Tiger and Bow’ (which he already had in his ‘Tamil arasu kazhagam’s flag). Rajaji agreed with his suggestion.[15]


As of 2012-13 revenue, the annual budgetary estimate of Chennai Corporation is 13,261.1 million and expenditure is 12,329.7 million. Surplus income of the corporation is 931.4 million.[6] Property tax is the main source of revenue for Chennai corporation.[16] The corporation collects company tax from all incorporated companies in the city which transact business for 60 days or more in any half year.[17] The amount of tax levied varies from 500 to 30,000 per six months, based on the paid up capital of the company.[18] In 2012, the city has about 34,260 identified companies in its 15 zones, of which 5,196 companies has a paid-up capital of over 5 million.[18]

Location and demography

Chennai Corporation area is located on the Coromandel Coast in the central eastern coastal region of the Deccan plateau and the northern end of the state of Tamil Nadu. The city stretches along the coast covering about 43 km of sandy beach and extending about 19 km inland, encompassing an area of 426 sq km. The estimated population is about 6.5 million.[6]


The Corporation maintains roads, streetlights, and flyovers across the city[19][20][21] and also the city's cleanliness and hygiene levels.[22] It maintains 1,160 roads measuring a total of 370 km and storm water drain measuring 962 km and has 213,045 streetlights. Power consumption by the streetlights amounts to 50 megawatts a day, costing 14,00,000. The Corporation has 260 parks and maintains 113 community halls for public use. The corporation registers about 400 births and 180 deaths every day.[6] The Corporation also runs an abattoir.[23] There are 23,538 staffs working in the Corporation.[6] In 2011–2012, 190 million was allotted by the Tamil Nadu government for the development of the city areas within corporation limits.[24] In 2014, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) planned to change its 11-kilo volt transformers with 1,784 ring main units (RMUs) that are compact and safe.[25]


The Corporation maintains a total of 1,160 macadamised bus routes running to a total length of 353.94 km. Total length of interior roads measures about 5,563.06 km. Total length of cement concrete roads maintained by the Corporation in the bus routes measures 3.68 km and the length of cement concrete interior roads measures 1,292.54 km.[7]

The newly expanded region of the corporation alone has 2,752 km of roads, along which there is a 682.4-km network of storm water drains.[26]

Street lamps in the city were introduced in 1785. Until the introduction of electric street lighting, the street lighting was done by oil lights. Till 1857, there were only 200 oil light lamps. By the year 1910, this was increased to 6,500. In 1910, electric street lighting was introduced. By 1924–1925, all the oil lights in the streets of the city were completely replaced by electric lights. The Corporation also maintains 264 high-mast lights and 133 8-meter and 12-meter lamp posts with cluster lights at important junctions. The Corporation owns 22 hydraulic vehicles for attending maintenance work to streetlights.[27] In 2012, the Corporation started installing 60,000 streetlights in the newly included zones, in addition to replacing about 88,000 old streetlights in these zones.[28] Per the norm of the Corporation, the minimum distance between two adjacent streetlights is 25 metre.[28]

As on 2012, the Corporation maintains 262 bridges, road-overbridges and road-underbridges, including 65 high-level bridges, 31 box culverts, 81 slab culverts, 11 rail-overbridges, 14 rail-underbridges, 6 pedestrian subways, 6 causeways, 35 footbridges and 13 grade separators.[29]

In 2013, the Corporation acquired a Road Measurement Data Acquisition System (ROMDAS) to check the quality of newly laid roads.[30]

Parks and open green spaces

See also: Parks in Chennai

Anna Park maintained by Anna University

Chennai has one of the lowest per capita green space in the country. As of 2012, It has only about 0.46 square metres per city dweller. According to the development rules, when plots measuring more than 10,000 square metres are developed, 10% of the area must be reserved as open space and gifted to the local bodies, and in plots measuring between 3,000 and 10,000 square metres, if gifting of 10% of the area as open space is not possible, cash equivalent can be paid. The money thus collected is utilized to develop the landscaping in the city.[31]

Since 1976, the Chennai Corporation has been collecting OSR charges and taking possession of land under the open space reservation rules. But so far it has not revealed what the total amount of land and cash collected. Data shows that since 2002, about 1.85 million square feet of land has been acquired.[32]

The Corporation maintains 260 public parks, 154 traffic islands, and 103 centre medians on major roads. Since the formation of the Corporation until 1947, the corporation had maintained 18 public play fields. As of 2012, the Corporation maintains 228 play fields, 234 gymnasiums, 4 shuttles indoor stadium, 1 basketball indoor stadium, and 2 swimming pools. Of the 228 play fields, about 14 have been designated as star play ground with facilities such as courts for football, tennis, volleyball, ball badminton, and basketball. The gymnasiums are used by about 50 to 100 people every day. Indoor shuttle courts are located in Mandaiveli, R. R. Colony in Jaffarkhanpet, Karpagam Avenue in Mylapore, and Nungambakkam. A basketball indoor stadium is located in Kilpauk Gardens. Swimming pools are located in Marina Beach and My Lady's Park. Skating rinks are located in Anna Nagar, Shenoy Nagar, Nungambakkam, Marina Beach, K. K. Nagar and T. Nagar.[33] The Corporation also maintains beaches within the city.[34]

There are about 13,787 lights installed and maintained in the park and play fields by the Corporation.[27]


There are 322 schools run by the Corporation, with a total student count of 130,000.[7] As per 2012-2013 corporation budget, 30 new English medium primary and middle schools will be started.[35] The civic body has also planned to construct 64 additional buildings on existing school campuses that require more classrooms. In addition, libraries and a career guidance centre would be set up in all corporation high and higher secondary schools.[35]


The Corporation maintains 75 dispensaries, 36 malaria clinics, 42 tuberculosis microscopic centres, and 1 centre each for communicable diseases, NGO-run malaria clinic, filaria clinic, and filaria lymphodema management clinic. The Corporation maintains three slaughterhouses in Perambur, Villivakkam, and Saidapet, where an average of 1,500 sheep and 150 cattle are slaughtered every day.[7] As per 2012-2013 corporation budget, 11 new dental clinics will be set up in addition to the existing ones to ensure that every zone has a clinic.[35] A new hospital will be set up with a specialised leprosy centre and Mandambakkam to benefit the residents of South Chennai.[35] In 2007, it was reported that mosquitoes were the biggest menace in the city.[36] In 2012, the Corporation announced that it was planning to breed sterile male mosquitoes to bring down the population of female mosquitoes.[37]

The Corporation maintains electric furnace units at the burial grounds at Villivakkam, Nungambakkam, GKM colony, and Arumbakkam. In addition, it also maintains gassifier furnace units at Moolakothalam, Kannammapet, Besant Nagar Mylapore, Kasimedu, Vyasarpadi, Otteri, Thangal, Velangadu, Krishnampet, Saidapet, and Besant Nagar burial grounds.[27]

Solid waste management

Chennai Corporation's Mechanical Sweeper in action at the Beach Road

Headed by a Superintendent Engineer, the corporation is responsible for removal of solid waste within city limits. Every day, 4,500 metric tons of garbage is collected and removed from the city. Night conservancy is being carried out in all important roads and commercial areas of the city. In addition, door-to-door collection of garbage is followed in all zones in the city.[38] The waste is transported by 966 conservancy vehicles.[6] The corporation maintains dumping grounds at Kodungaiyur and Perungudi for dumping solid waste.[6]

Chennai is hit by shortage of sanitary workers. To counter this, the corporation is to appoint 4,000 sanitary inspectors, junior engineers and assistant executive engineers in 2012.[39]

Solid Waste management in several parts of the city was subsequently handed over to Chennai Municipal Solid Waste Pvt. Ltd a special purpose vehicle run by the Hyderabad-based Ramky Group for a period of seven years starting January 2012.[40] The company is reportedly running at a loss and the Corporation was alleged to have paid only 32.5 million of the 65 million bill.[41] The company handles the three zones of Kodambakkam, Teynampet, and Adyar, also runs a Toll-free telelphone number to answer queries relating to waste management.[42] The company also performed street plays to spread awareness on keeping the city clean.[43] The Corporation later decided to take penal action against the private agency for not keeping up its end of the deal.[44] In September, a show cause notice for termination of the contract was served, which was further upheld by the Madras High Court.[45]


In December 2014, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) adjudged the Chennai Corporation as the best among all the government departments in terms of e-governance.[46]

See also


  1. Mariappan, Julie (30 Jan 2016). "Chennai Corporation to be Greater Chennai Corporation now". The Times of India. Chennai. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  2. Achutan, Kannal (23 Sep 2008). "Chennai Corporation to celebrate 320 years". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  4. "Chennai - the 2nd oldest Corporation in the world". The Hindu. Chennai.
  5. The First Corporation - The Hindu, 2 April 2003
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "About Corporation of Chennai". Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved 9 Dec 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bus Route Roads". Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved 16 Dec 2012.
  8. "Bill to expand Chennai passed by TN assembly". The Times of India. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  9. "Southern suburb angry at being left out of bigger city". The Times of India. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  10. "Cities / Chennai : Chennai Corporation set to have 45 more wards". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  11. "Expanded Chennai Corporationto be divided into 3 regions". The Hindu. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  12. 1 2 Ramakrishnan, Deepa H (20 September 2011). "Details of merged wards online soon". The Hindu. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  13. 1 2 "சென்னை மாநகராட்சி எல்லைகள் விஸ்தரிப்பு- 200 வார்டுகளுடன் மெகா மாநகராட்சியானது". Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  14. "about Corporation of Chennai—Departments". Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved 16 Dec 2012.
  15. Ramkumar, Pratiksha (14 October 2012). "Chennai Corporation's property tax collection up after four years". Times of India. Retrieved 9 Dec 2012.
  16. "Rules / Procedure - Company Tax". Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  17. 1 2 "Company tax upped, capped at Rs. 30,000". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  18. ALOYSIUS XAVIER LOPEZ (24 March 2012). "Chennai all set to turn brighter". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  19. ALOYSIUS XAVIER LOPEZ (21 September 2012). "Where will the city's new flyovers be?". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  20. ALOYSIUS XAVIER LOPEZ, 20 April 2012. "Space beneath 13 flyovers in city all set for makeover". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  21. "Corporation to intensify mass cleaning programme". Chennai. The Hindu. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  22. "Civic body pressed on shifting abattoir". Chennai. The Hindu. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  23. "சென்னை மாநகராட்சி வளர்ச்சிப்பணிகளுக்கு தமிழக அரசு ஒரே ஆண்டில் ரூ.1,900 கோடி நிதி ஒதுக்கீடு செய்துள்ளது மேயர் சைதை துரைசாமி தகவல்". Daily Thanthi (in Tamil). Chennai: Daily Thanthi. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 20 Dec 2012.
  24. Srikanth, R. (21 February 2014). "Chennai's transformers to become compact, safe". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. Retrieved 22 Feb 2014.
  25. "Chennai's extended areas may get temporary storm water drains". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 19 Dec 2012.
  26. 1 2 3 "Electrical—History". Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012.
  27. 1 2 "Added zones to get 60,000 LED streetlights". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 24 Dec 2012.
  28. "Departments—Bridges". Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved 29 Dec 2012.
  29. Ramkumar, Pratiksha (24 October 2013). "Chennai Corporation acquires machine to check quality of newly laid roads". Chennai. Times of India. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  30. A., Srivathsan (26 March 2012). "Where is our patch of green, Mr. Mayor?". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  31. List of OSR Sites Handed Over to Chennai Corporation
  32. "Parks". Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved 16 Dec 2012.
  33. "Chennai Corpn to beautify beaches". Chennai. The Times of India. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  34. 1 2 3 4 Pratiksha Ramkumar (12 May 2012). "Chennai corporation budget focuses on education, health". Chennai. The Times of India. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  35. "Mosquitoes, not water, Chennai's Problem No.1". Chennai. The Hindu. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  36. Lopez, Aloysius Xavier (18 December 2012). "Chennai Corporation's new plan: grow mosquitoes to kill mosquitoes". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  37. Solid Waste Management
  38. Ram, Arun (20 July 2012). "Chennai Corporation to recruit 4,000 inspectors and engineers". Times of India. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  39. Varadarajan, Nivedita (16 June 2012). "Waste disposal goes haywire". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  40. "Ramky staff resume work after flash strike". Chennai. The Hindu. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  41. Lalithasai (23 May 2012). "Will the new broom sweep clean?". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  42. "Clean city campaign to reach out to residents". Chennai. The Hindu. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  43. Aloysius Xavier Lopez (7 June 2012). "Finding a way out of the mess". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  44. "HC dismisses Ramky's plea against termination notice". Chennai. The Hindu. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  45. Chandrababu, Divya (17 December 2014). "Chennai Corporation gets e-governance award". The Times of India. Chennai: The Times Group. Retrieved 25 Dec 2014.
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