About the City : Chennai – India
Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre in South India. Chennai is known as the “Detroit of South Asia” for its automobile industry. It is the fourth-largest city and fourth-most populous metropolitan area in India and 36th-largest urban area in the world. Chennai is one of the Indian cities most visited by foreign tourists, and is the 38th most visited city in the world. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed “India’s health capital”.
After Mumbai and Delhi, Chennai has the third-largest expatriate population in India at 35,000 in 2009 and 82,790 in 2011. Tourism guide publisher Lonely Planet named Chennai as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015. Chennai is ranked as a beta-level city in the Global Cities Index and was ranked the best city in India by India Today in the 2014 annual Indian city survey. In 2015 Chennai was named the “hottest” city (worth visiting, and worth living in for long term) by the BBC, citing the mixture of both modern and traditional values. National Geographic ranked Chennai’s food as second best in the world; it was the only Indian city to feature in the list. Chennai was also named the ninth-best cosmopolitan city in the world by Lonely Planet.
In January 2015 the Chennai Metropolitan Area was ranked as the fourth-largest economy in India, with the third-highest GDP per capita. Chennai has been selected as one of the 20 Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.
Chennai has a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies on the thermal equator and is also on the coast, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. The hottest part of the year is late May to early June, known regionally as Agni Nakshatra or as Kathiri Veyyil with maximum temperatures around 35–40 °C (95–104 °F). The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 19–25 °C (66–77 °F). The lowest recorded temperature was 13.9 °C (57.0 °F) on 11 December 1895 and 29 January 1905. The highest recorded temperature was 45 °C (113 °F) on 31 May 2003. The average annual rainfall is about 140 cm (55 in).
The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north–east monsoon winds, from mid–October to mid–December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. The highest annual rainfall recorded is 257 cm (101 in) in 2005. Prevailing winds in Chennai are usually southwesterly between April and October and north-easterly during the rest of the year. Historically, Chennai has relied on the annual rains of the monsoon season to replenish water reservoirs, as no major rivers flow through the area. Chennai has a water table at 2 metres for 60 percent of the year.
Chennai city is governed by the Greater Chennai Corporation (formerly “Corporation of Madras”), which was established in 1688. It is the oldest surviving municipal corporation in India and the second oldest surviving corporation in the world. In 2011, the jurisdiction of the Chennai Corporation was expanded from 174 km2 (67 sq mi) to an area of 426 km2 (164 sq mi), dividing into three regions—North, South and Central, which covers 200 wards. The corporation is headed by a mayor, an office presently occupied by Saidai Sa. Duraisamy. The Mayor and councillors of the city are elected through a popular vote by the residents. While the city limit was expanded to 426 km2 in 2011, the revised population is yet to be officially announced.
The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is the nodal agency responsible for planning and development of Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is spread over an area of 1,189 km2 (459 sq mi), covering the Chennai district and parts of Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts. The larger suburbs are governed by town municipalities, and the smaller are governed by town councils called panchayats. Under the gamut of the CMDA are 5 parliamentary and 28 assembly constituencies. The CMDA has drafted an additional Master Plan that aims to develop satellite townships around the city. The city’s contiguous satellite towns include Mahabalipuram in the south, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar in the southwest, and Sriperumpudur, Arakkonam, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur to the west.
Chennai, as the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, houses the state executive and legislative headquarters primarily in the Secretariat Buildings in the Fort St George campus. The Madras High Court, is the highest judicial authority in the state, whose jurisdiction extends across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Chennai has three parliamentary constituencies—Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South—and elects 14 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the state legislature.
Law and order
The Greater Chennai Police is the main law enforcement agency in the city, with a jurisdiction of over 745 sq km catering to over 85 lakh people. It consists of 121 Police stations and is headed by a commissioner of police. The Greater Chennai Police is a division of the Tamil Nadu Police, and the administrative control lies with the Tamil Nadu Home Ministry. Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP) is responsible for the traffic management in the city. The metropolitan suburbs are policed by the Chennai Metropolitan Police, headed by the Chennai Police Commissionerate, and the outer district areas of the CMDA are policed by the Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur police departments.
As of 2011 (prior to the expansion of Chennai Corporation area), Chennai city has a sanctioned strength of 14,000 police personnel. With a population density of 26,903 persons per square kilometre, the city had 1 policeman for every 413 people. The Chennai suburban police had about 4,093 police personnel and a ratio of 1:1,222. In 2010, the crime rate in the city was 169.2 per 100,000 people, as against an average of 341.9 in the 35 major cities of India. In 2011, North Chennai zone had 30 police stations and 3 police out posts, Central Chennai zone had 28 police stations and 3 police out posts, and South Chennai zone had 30 police stations.
The city’s water supply and sewage treatment are managed by the Chennai MetroWater Supply and Sewage Board. Water is drawn from Red Hills Lake and Chembarambakkam Lake, the primary water reservoirs of the city, and treated at water treatment plants located at Kilpauk, Puzhal, Chembarambakkam and supplied to the city through 27 water distribution stations. The city receives 530 mld of water from Krishna River through Telugu Ganga project, 180 mld of water from the Veeranam lake project and 100 mld of water from the Minjur desalination plant, the country’s largest sea water desalination plant. The city’s sewer system was designed in 1910, with some modifications in 1958. There are 714 public toilets in the city managed by the city corporation, and 2,000 more have been planned by the corporation. The corporation also owns 52 community halls across the city.
The Corporation of Chennai provides civic services to the city. Garbage collection in some of the wards is contracted to Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, a private company, while the Corporation looks after the removal and processing of solid waste in the others, with a superintendent engineer managing the channels. As of 2011, 8 transfer stations exist within the city for treating the waste. Garbage is dumped in two dump-yards in the city—One in Kodungaiyur and another in Perungudi, with a major portion of the latter covering the Pallikaranai marshland. In market areas, the conservancy work is done during the night. Electricity is distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. Fire services are handled by the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services. The city, along with the suburbs, has 33 operating fire stations.
In a 2013 survey titled ‘Emerging trends in real estate in Asia Pacific 2014’, Chennai emerged in the top 25 real estate destinations list in the Asia Pacific region. The city ranked 22nd in the list. There are about 1,240 slums in Chennai home to about 9 lakh people.
Per 2011 census, there are 1.1 million households in the city and the residential housing stock available is 1,150,000 – a surplus of about 50,000 houses. About 43,700 of them are kept vacant. In the suburbs of Chennai located in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, the figures of vacant houses 56,000 and 71,000, respectively. Of the existing housing stock in the city, about 200,000 houses are not in good condition, necessitating either to rebuild or build new units. About 26,000 households live in houses without any room and another 427,000 families (with an average size of five members) live in small dwelling units with only one room. An earlier estimate shows that there is a need to generate about 420,000 units for low-income groups by 2016.
Tourism and hospitality
With temples, beaches and centres of historical and cultural significance, including the UNESCO Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, Chennai is one of the most visited cities in India. The city serves as the gateway to the southern part of India with tourists landing in the city and starting their trip to the rest of the region. Chennai was the most visited Indian city by foreign tourists in 2009 and issued the third highest number of visas on arrival in 2014. In 2011, Chennai was ranked 41st in global top 100 city destination ranking, with 3,174,500 tourists, a 14 percent increase from 2010. About 830,620 domestic tourists arrived in Chennai in March 2011. Top foreign nationals visiting the city include those from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, France and United States. As of 2012, the city had 21 luxury five-star hotels with over 4,500 rooms in the inventory.
Chennai is the base for the Tamil film industry, known as Kollywood. Many film personalities have gone on to become politicians including C.N.Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi, M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa. Chennai hosts major film studios, including AVM Productions, the oldest surviving studio in India. As of 2012, there are 120 cinema screens and multiplexes. Major multiplexes include Sathyam Cinemas, Escape cinemas, Devi, Abirami complex and Mayajaal. Chennai’s expansive theatre network stages many Tamil plays of many genres: political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama. English plays are popular in the city, along with the more common Tamil-language plays.
Zoo, beaches, and wildlife parks form the primary recreation areas of the city. Chennai has a total coast length of more than 19 km. Marina Beach runs for 6 km (3.7 mi), spanning along the shoreline of the city between the deltas of Cooum and Adyar, and is the second longest urban beach in the world. Elliot’s Beach lies south of the Adyar delta.
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a reptile zoo located 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of the city covering an area of 8.5 acres (3.4 ha) and had over 450,000 visitors in 2007. The centre has one of the world’s largest collections of reptiles and has bred 14 of the 23 existing species of crocodiles and alligators. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, one of the largest zoological parks in the world, attracts nearly 20 lakh visitors per year. The city boasts two popular beaches, the Marina and Elliot’s. Guindy National Park, a protected area of Tamil Nadu, has a children’s park and a snake park, which gained statutory recognition as a medium zoo from the Central Zoo Authority of India in 1995. Chennai is one of the few cities in the world that accommodates a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its limits. The city has an estimated 4.5 percent of its area under green cover. This enables Chennai residents to go birding. The seven zones of the old corporation limits has about 260 parks, many of which suffer poor maintenance. The city has a per capita park space of 0.41 sq m, which is the least among all metros in India. The eight zones in the newly added areas of the city have about 265 locations that have been identified for development of new parks. The largest among the parks is the 358-acre Tholkappia Poonga, developed to restore the fragile ecosystem of the Adyar estuary. The horticulture department-owned Semmozhi Poonga is an 20-acre botanical garden located in the downtown.
Chennai houses several theme parks, namely MGM Dizzee World and Queens Land. The safety of several amusement parks has been questioned after several fatal accidents occurred. Wonderla is planning to open an amusement park in 2017. Other important recreation centres include Madras Boat Club, which is over 140 years old, and Gymkhana Club, which is famous for its 18-hole golf courses. Built in 1867, Madras Boat Club is the second oldest surviving Indian rowing club.
Chennai is home to several malls, due to its status as an IT hub. Major ones include Express Avenue (EA), Citi Centre, Spencer Plaza, Ampa Skywalk, Phoenix Market City and Forum Vijaya Mall. Chennai is an important gold market in India contributing to 45 percent of the 800-tonne annual national gold uptake. The city is also the base to the World Gold Council’s India operations. The city’s retail industry is majorly concentrated in T. Nagar which accounts for major share jewellery and clothes sold in Chennai. According to the 2012 report by property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, Main Streets Across the World, Khader Nawaz Khan Road at Nungambakkam ranked 10th position in the list of ‘Top 10 Global Highest Retail Rental Growth Markets 2012’, with 36.7 percent jump in rents.
Chennai’s economy of US$58.6 billion PPP (US$17 billion nominal GDP, 2010) is currently rated the fourth-largest economy in India.[note 1] Chennai has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare sectors. As of 2012, the city is India’s second largest exporter of information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) services. A major part of India’s automobile industry is based in and around the city thus earning it the nickname “Detroit of India”. It is known as the Cultural Capital of South India and is the most visited city in India by international tourists according to Euromonitor. The city also serves as the location of the Madras Stock Exchange, India’s fourth stock exchange, one of four permanently recognised by SEBI, and India’s third-largest by trading volume, ranked behind the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India.
Industrialisation in the city dates back to the 16th century, when textile mills manufactured goods which were exported to British during its war with France. According to Forbes magazine, Chennai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is rated in the “Forbes-Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in the World”. It is ranked 4th in hosting the maximum number of Fortune 500 companies of India, next only to Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. It also is home to 24 Indian companies having a net worth of more than US$1 billion. As of 2012, the city has about 34,260 identified companies in its 15 zones, of which 5,196 companies have a paid-up the capital of over ₹ 50 lakh.
Chennai has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing, health care and financial services industries. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry, Chennai is estimated to grow to a US$100–billion economy, 2.5 times its present size, by the year 2025. As of 2012, with ₹ 1 lakh crore investment in the pipeline over 5 years, the city is poised for major industrial investment. Chennai is classified as a global city by GaWC, with a ranking of Beta based on the extent of global reach and financial influence.
The city is base to around 30 percent of India’s automobile industry and 40 percent of auto components industry. A large number of automotive companies including Hyundai, Renault, Robert Bosch, Nissan Motors, Ashok Leyland, Daimler AG, Caterpillar Inc., Komatsu Limited, Ford, BMW and Mitsubishi have manufacturing plants in Chennai. The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi produces military vehicles, including India’s main battle tank: Arjun MBT. The Integral Coach Factory manufactures railway coaches and other rolling stock for Indian Railways. The Ambattur–Padi industrial zone houses many textile manufacturers, and a special economic zone (SEZ) for apparel and footwear manufacturing has been set up in the southern suburbs of the city. Chennai contributes more than 50 percent of India’s leather exports.
Many software and software services companies have development centres in Chennai, which contributed 14 percent of India’s total software exports of ₹ 14,42,140 lakh during 2006–07, making it the second largest Indian city software exporter following Bangalore. The Tidel Park in Chennai was billed as Asia’s largest IT park when it was built. Major software companies have their offices set up here, with some of them making Chennai their largest base.
Prominent financial institutions, including the World Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, ABN AMRO, Bank of America, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, HSBC, ING Group, Allianz, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Asian Development Bank, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas Fortis, Irevna, Deutsche Bank and Citibank have back office and development centre operations in the city. Chennai is home to the national level commercial banks Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank and many state level co–operative banks, finance and insurance companies. Telecom and Electronics manufacturers based in and around Chennai include Nokia, Nokia Siemens, Motorola, Dell, Force10, Wipro, Zebronics, Foxconn and Siemens among others. Chennai is currently the largest electronics hardware exporter in India, accounting for 45% of the total exports in 2010–11. Telecom giants Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and chemicals giant Dow Chemicals have research and development facilities in Chennai. The TICEL bio–tech park at Taramani and Golden Jubilee bio–tech park at Siruseri houses biotechnology companies and laboratories. Chennai has a stock exchange called the Madras Stock Exchange.
A study conducted by the National Housing Bank on the residential price index of Indian cities showed that Chennai experienced the highest growth after the 2008–2012 global financial crisis. According to a study by 99acres.com in 2011, Chennai real estate saw an average price appreciation of 7 per cent with Tambaram, Chrompet and Thoraipakkam leading the way. Medical tourism is another important part of Chennai’s economy with 45 percent of total medical tourists to India making to Chennai. The Tamil film industry and the Tamil television industry are also significant parts of Chennai’s economy. The city also has a permanent exhibition complex in Nandambakkam called the Chennai Trade Centre. With 385 ultra-rich living in the city, Chennai is positioned in the sixth place among Indian cities that are home to the country’s super-rich. The city is the third largest market in India for luxury cars.
Chennai is one of four Indian cities connected to the rest of the world by undersea fibre-optic cables, the other three being Mumbai, Kochi, and Tuticorin. The city is the landing point of major submarine telecommunication cable networks such as SMW4 (connecting India with Western Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia), i2i (connecting India with Singapore), TIC (connecting India with Singapore), and BRICS (connecting India with Brasil, Russia, China and South Africa). The 3,175-km-long, 8-fiber-paired i2i has the world’s largest design capacity of 8.4 terabits per second.
As of 2013, eight mobile phone service companies operate seven GSM networks including Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, Vodafone, Tata Docomo GSM, Idea, Reliance GSM and three CDMA networks including MTS, Relaince CDMA, Tata Docomo CDMA in the city. 2G Mobile internet connections are provided by all the operators and 4G, 3G mobile broadband are provided by few operators in the city. There are four land line companies providing Commercial and domestic broadband Internet services. Chennai was the first Indian city to deploy Wi-Fi internet access in a widespread manner. As of 2010, there were 9.8 million mobile phone users in Chennai. In 2010, Chennai had the fourth highest number of active Internet users in India, with 2.2 million users.
Major power plants in the city include North Chennai Thermal Power Station, GMR Vasavi Diesel Power Plant, Ennore Thermal Power Station, Basin Bridge Gas Turbine Power Station, Madras Atomic Power Station and Vallur Thermal Power Project. According to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO), as of 2013, the city consumes about 20 percent of the electricity in the state of Tamil Nadu. The peak evening demand of the city is 1,500 MW which is about 50 percent of the state’s peak evening demand of 3,000 megawatt. This includes 37 percent consumption by the industrial sector, 30 percent by the domestic sector, 18 percent by the agricultural sector, and 11.5 percent by the commercial sector. The peak power consumption is for four months between May and August, with the city consuming the highest during June because it is when the summer peaks. On 20 June 2013, the city consumed the highest of 52,785 MU.
As of 2014, the city consumes around 3.83 crore units of power a day or 1,400 crore units annually. Hourly consumption of power in the city is about 2,000 to 3,000 MW. Availability of power in the city has become a concern in recent years due to increasing demand and slow paced addition of power plants, due to which scheduled power cuts have become increasingly common. However, this situation was eradicated by the end of 2014. As of 2012, the total electricity consumption by the street lamps in the city is 19 MW a day, costing about ₹ 20,000,000 per month to run. The 426 sq km of the city has over 220,000 streetlights, including 88,000 in the newly expanded areas.
The Reserve Bank of India ranked Chennai as fourth largest deposit centre and third largest credit centre nationwide as of June 2012. Prior to the advent of modern commercial banks, the banking services in the city were offered to the public by Nattukottai Chettiars or Nagarathars, chiefly in and around the neighbourhood of George Town, who offered loans as well as accepted money deposits from the public, in addition to offering loans to the agricultural labourers. Even today, many of the banking offices are housed in heritage structures belonging to the colonial era that are chiefly clustered around Rajaji road in George Town. Chennai is home to the first European-style banking system in India with the establishment of the ‘Madras Bank’ on 21 June 1683, almost a century before the establishment of the first commercial banks, such as the Bank of Hindustan and the General Bank of India, which were established in 1770 and 1786, respectively. Upon the recommendation of the British Finance Committee on the formation of a government bank, the Madras Bank, then known as the ‘Government Bank’, started functioning again from 1806. In 1843, the bank merged with the Carnatic Bank (1788), the British Bank of Madras (1795) and the Asiatic Bank (1804) and became the Bank of Madras, which was one of the three Presidency banks of India, the other two being the Bank of Bengal and the Bank of Bombay. In 1921, the three Presidency banks merged to form the Imperial Bank of India, which later became the State Bank of India in 1955.
Chennai is the headquarters of the Indian Bank, the Indian Overseas Bank and the erstwhile Bharat Overseas Bank, which merged with the Indian Overseas Bank in 2007. The city is home to the south zonal office of the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, along with its zonal training centre and Reserve Bank Staff College, one of the two colleges of the bank. The city also houses the permanent back office of the World Bank, which is one of the largest buildings owned by the bank outside its headquarters in Washington, DC. The Chennai office handles corporate financial, accounting, administrative and IT services of the bank, in addition to several value-added operations of the bank that were earlier handled only in its Washington, DC office, including the bank’s analytical work in bond valuation which is estimated to be US$100 billion. Several foreign banks have established their branches in the city. The first Sri Lankan Bank in India was established when the Bank of Ceylon opened its branch in Madras on 31 October 1995.
Chennai has world-class medical facilities, including both government-run and private hospitals. The government-aided hospitals include General Hospital, Adyar Cancer Institute, TB Sanatorium, and National Institute of Siddha. The National Institute of Siddha is one of the seven apex national-level educational institutions that promote excellence in Indian system of medicine and Ayurveda. Major hospitals in Chennai include Apollo Hospitals, Apollo Speciality Hospital, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Chettinad Health City, MIOT Hospitals, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Fortis Malar Hospital, Lifeline Hospitals, Vasan Healthcare, Dr Mehta Hospitals, Global Hospitals & Health City, Sankara Nethralaya and Vijaya Medical & Educational Trust. Chennai attracts about 45 percent of health tourists from abroad and 30 percent to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. The city has been termed India’s health capital.
The city has more than 12,500 beds in its hospitals, including about 5,000 in multi-specialty hospitals in the private sector and over 6,000 beds in the public sector. This works to 2.1 beds per 1,000 population against the national average of less than 1 bed per 1,000 population and the World Health Organisation’s norms of 3 beds per 1,000 persons, higher than any other city in the country.
The city generates 4,500 tonnes of garbage every day of which 429 tonnes are plastic waste. The city has three dumpyards, one each at Perungudi, Kodungaiyur, and Pallikaranai. The corporation has planned to close these yards and create four new dumpyards at Malaipattu, Minjur, Vallur and Kuthambakkam villages, ranging in size from 20 acres (8 ha) to 100 acres (40 ha). The civic body also spends ₹ 400 crore a year on solid waste management.
Chennai International Airport, comprising the Anna international terminal and the Kamaraj domestic terminal with a total passenger movements of 1.29 crore and aircraft movements of 124,712 in 2013–2014, Chennai is the fourth busiest airport in India after Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and in terms of international passengers Chennai is the third busiest airport behind Delhi and Mumbai. Chennai handles 316 flights a day, again placing it fourth among Indian airports. The city is connected to major hubs across Asia, Europe, and North America through more than 30 national and international carriers.
The existing airport is undergoing further modernisation and expansion with an addition of 1,069.99 acres (433.01 ha), while a new greenfield airport is to be constructed at an estimated cost of ₹ 2,000 crore in Sriperumbudur on 4,200 acres (17 km2) of land. The new airport is said to be likely to handle cargo spillover traffic from the existing one.
Chennai hosts the headquarters of the Southern Railway. The city has two main railway terminals. Chennai Central station, the city’s largest, provides access to other major cities as well as many other smaller towns across India, whereas Chennai Egmore provides access to destinations primarily within Tamil Nadu; however, it also handles a few inter–state trains. The Chennai suburban railway network, one of the oldest in the country, facilitates transportation within the city. It consists of four broad gauge sectors terminating at two locations in the city, namely Chennai Central and Chennai Beach. While three sectors are operated on-grade, the fourth sector is majorly an elevated corridor, which links Chennai Beach to Velachery and is interlinked with the remaining rail network. Construction is underway for an underground and elevated Rapid Transit System locally known as Chennai Metro Rail. The metro line first phase from Alandur to Koyambedu was inaugurated on 29 June 2015.
Chennai is one of the cities in India that is connected by the Golden Quadrilateral system of National Highways. It is connected to other Indian cities by four major National Highways (NH) that originate in the city. They are NH 4 to Mumbai (via Bengaluru, Pune), NH 5 to Kolkata (linked via NH 6) (via Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar), NH 45 to Theni (via Villupuram, Tiruchirapalli, Dindigul) and NH 205 to Madanapalle (via Tirupati). Chennai is connected to other parts of the state and the Union Territory of Puducherry by state highways.
The government has constructed grade separators and flyovers at major intersections, and built Inner Ring Road and Outer Ring Road. The Gemini flyover, built in 1973 crosses over the arterial road, and eases the traffic movements towards Anna Salai and towards the Kathipara Flyover. As of 2011, according to the Transport Department, there were 25.8 lakh two–wheelers and 5.6 lakh four–wheelers in the city, and the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus fleet were 3,421, which was 0.1% of the total vehicular population of the city.
When opened, the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) was the largest bus station in Asia. It is the main intercity bus station of Chennai, administered by 7 government-owned transport corporations, which operate intercity and interstate bus services. There are many private bus companies that provide similar transport services. The MTC provides an exclusive intracity bus service, consisting of 3,421 buses on 724 routes, which provides transportation to 55.2 lakh passengers daily. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation operates Volvo air-conditioned services from Chennai to nearby cities like Pondicherry, Vellore, Hosur and Trichy.
The other means of road transport in the city include vans, regionally known as Maxi Cabs, auto rickshaws, on-call metered taxis and tourist taxis.Chennai outer ring road is 62.3 km long connecting NH 45 (GST Road) at Perungalathur, NH 4 (GWT Road) at Nazarathpet, NH 205 (CTH Road) at Nemilicherry(Thiruninravur), NH 5 (GNT Road) at Nallur and TPP road at Minjur under the process by Chennai Metropolitan Area.
The city is served by two major ports, Chennai Port, one of the largest artificial ports in India, and Ennore Port. The Chennai port is the largest in Bay of Bengal, with an annual cargo tonnage of 6.146 crore (2010–2011), and second largest containerise hub in India, with an annual container volume of 15.23 lakh TEUs (2010–2011). The port handles transportation of automobiles, motorcycles and general industrial cargo. The Ennore Port with an annual cargo tonnage of 1.101 crore (2010–2011) handles cargo such as coal, ore and other bulk and rock mineral products. Royapuram fishing harbour is used by fishing boats and Kattupalli Shipyard near Ennore Port was inaugurated in January 2013.
The public school system is managed by the Chennai Corporation with an enrolment of 142,387 students in over 330 schools. Tamil and English are the primary medium of instruction, though some schools also use Telugu and Urdu as medium of instruction in their schools. Public schools run by the Chennai Corporation are all affiliated with the Tamil Nadu State Board, while private schools may be affiliated with either of the Tamil Nadu Board of Secondary Education or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). A few schools are affiliated with the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) board or the Montessori system. Education in Chennai starts with two years of Kindergarten from age three onward and then follows the Indian 10+2+3 plan, ten years of school, two years of higher secondary education, and three years of undergraduate education.
English is the medium of instruction in the majority of institutions for higher education. Colleges for science, arts and commerce degrees are typically affiliated with the University of Madras, which has three campuses in the city. The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) and the Anna University are two well known centres for engineering education in the city. The Indian Army’s Officers Training Academy is also headquartered in the city.
Chennai has a plethora of libraries, including British Council Library, American Library, Connemara Public Library, and Anna Centenary Library. The Connemara Public Library is one of four National Depository Centres in India that receive a copy of all newspapers and books published in the country. The Anna Centenary Library is the largest library in Asia.
Chennai has two CSIR research institutions namely Central Leather Research Institute and Structural Engineering Research Centre. Chennai Book Fair, an annual book fair organised in Chennai by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI), is the largest exhibition for Tamil book publishers to display their books. The fair is typically held for about 10 days between the last week of December and the third week of January. The thirty-fifth edition of the fair was held in 2012. Chennai also has Indian Maritime University to impart quality education in maritime management, engineering and different pre sea courses. This is the only central university, headquartered in Chennai to impart maritime education in India.
Sports and recreation
Cricket is the most popular sport in Chennai. It was introduced in 1864 with the foundation of the Madras Cricket Club. The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium established in 1916 is among the oldest cricket stadium in India. The stadium was also one of the venues of the 1987,1996 and 2011 ICC Cricket World Cups. Chemplast Cricket Ground located at the IIT Madras campus is another important venue for cricket matches. Prominent cricketers from the city include former cricket captains S. Venkataraghavan and Kris Srikkanth.A cricket fast bowling academy called the MRF Pace Foundation, whose coaches include T. A. Sekhar and Glenn Mcgrath, is based in Chennai. Being home to the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team Chennai Super Kings, the city hosted the finals of the IPL’s 2011 and 2012 series.
Chennai was the venue of the 1995 South Asian Games. Chennai is home to a World Series Hockey (WSH) team, the Chennai Cheetahs. The Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium is associated with hockey and was venue for the international hockey tournament the 2005 Men’s Champions Trophy and the 2007 Men’s Asia Cup. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is associated for hosting Football and athletic competitions, it also houses a multi–purpose indoor complex for competition in volleyball, basketball and table tennis. Water sports are played in the Velachery Aquatic Complex. Tennis sport is popularising among the city youths, Since 1997 Chennai has been host to the only ATP World Tour event held in India, the Chennai Open. Vijay Amritraj, Mahesh Bhupathi Ramesh Krishnan and Somdev Devvarman are tennis players from Chennai.
Madras Boat Club (founded in 1846) and the Royal Madras Yacht Club (founded by Sir Francis Spring in 1911) promote the sailing sports in Chennai, and organise national and international sailing events. Automobile racing in India has been closely connected with Chennai since its beginnings shortly after independence. Motor racing events are held on a special purpose track in Irungattukottai, Sriperumbudur, which has also been the venue for several international competitions. Formula One driver Karun Chandhok was born in Chennai.
Horse racing is held at the Guindy Race Course, while rowing competitions are hosted at the Madras Boat Club. The city has two 18–hole golf courses, the Cosmopolitan Club and the Gymkhana Club, both established in the late nineteenth century. The city has a rugby union team called the Chennai Cheetahs.
Previous world chess champion Viswanathan Anand grew up in Chennai. Other sports persons of repute from Chennai include table tennis players Sharath Kamal and two–time world carrom champion, Maria Irudayam. Chennai was the host of the World Chess Championship 2013 match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen. Chennaiyin FC representing the city plays in Indian Super League, an association football tournament and its home ground is Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.