Living London, Loving Chennai

Saturday, November 12, 2005

TN Cities - Cuddalore

Cuddalore (Pronounced Kadaloor) is situated about 170 Kms south of Chennai on the Bay of Bengal coast. It is 20 Kms from Pondicherry and is the headquarters of Cuddalore (former South Arcot) district. There is a blog about Cuddalore maintained by Jean Claude, where he has researched and written an interesting post on the History of Cuddalore under British regime.

The city, more a moderate sized town of about 160000 people, will
be ranked as only the 15th or 16th largest in Tamilnadu. Its recent claim to international attention was due to the destructive Tsunami which killed several thousands in and around Cuddalore, otherwise a nodescript town which remains in the backwaters like many other district towns in Tamilnadu.

Cuddalore is a minor port and an important industrial center in this part of TN. There is a Sipcot industrial complex with many chemical factories such as Bayer, SPIC and JK Pharma. With the increasing environmental awareness, however, there is a lot of opposition to new chemical plants coming up here as they impact the health of people as well as the fishing industry, another major source of employment and livelihood. Even some of the existing industries are not doing too well here. There has been a talk of a major Petroleum refinery by Nagarjuna group, which is On and off and currently On but one never knows if it will fructify. That being a 4000 crores project, can certainly give a very big push the Industrial development of this region. The other option is to expand the Cuddalore port (which incidentally will happen if the refinery comes) to a major if not intermediate port, like Tuticorin. State government needs to have a clear vision to make this happen.

Cuddalore is also home to two famous temples, the
Pataleeswarar (shiva) temple at Thirupathiripuliyur and Devanatha Swamy (Vishnu) temple at Tiruvahindrapuram. The famous Silver beach at Devanampattinam and river mouths of Gedilam, Paravanaar and Uppanar rivers joining the sea nearby forming an estuary, complete the tourism aspects of the town, which attract mostly local crowds.

Cuddalore has not developed into a major educational, tourist or business center . The biggest hurdle towards the growth of the town is its nearness to Pondy, a much bigger city and more importantly a Union Territory. With half a million population - that is more affluent, lesser taxes as a UT, a central university, many famous educational institutions such as JIPMER and more offices and commercial establishments, it is much more logical for a business to come up in Pondy rather than Cuddalore. With people of sorrounding region also preferring to shop in Pondy, Cuddalore's growth potential is restricted. Also, located in a corner of the state with currently only a metre gauge railway connectivity, Cuddalore is not in any way a transportation hub. The possibilities of development of cuddalore is to develop it as a twin-city of Pondy, with it taking the industrial activities and leaving commercial activities to Pondy. The develoment of Cuddalore harbour as a major port can play a significant role in making this a reality.


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