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Sunday, April 02, 2006

TN Cities - Salem

Salem is the 5th largest city in Tamilnadu with a population of about 750,00. Sorrounded by hills (Shervaroy range of eastern Ghats) on all sides and situated on the banks of ThiruManimuthar river (another sewerage ditch) it does present a pretty picture. It is about 200 kms from Bangalore and 330 Kms from Chennai. Fondly nicknamed 'Steel City" after the moderate sized stainless steel plant, however, it is more famous as a Mango City. The Malkhova Maambazham of Salem is very well known to every kid who grew up on Tamil nursery rhyme. Interesting tidbit about Salem, the name, is quite famous in US but unrelated to the Indian city there are quite few towns in US by that name.
Salem is a city with not much of an history. It doesnt play any role in the famous kingdoms of Tamil past. It has come up in relatively recent times but is one of the faster growing cities of the state. Within Tamilnadu, Salem district is relatively better endowed with mineral deposits, magnesite, a little of bauxite and iron. Handloom and weaving are the main economic activity in the region. The SAIL Steel plant is another important industry here but the expectation and long time wish of the people of this region for it to be converted to an integrated steel plant has not materialised so far. It is the location of a few refractories due to magnesite availability and some sago production. The famous Salem Mangoes are actually more of Dharmapuri (nearby district) mangoes after the various bifurcation of districts. Nearby town of Mettur has quite a few factories (Chemplast, Malco, SISCOL, Thermal and Hydel Power plants etc) as a compensation. Narasu's coffee company, a well known brand of filter cofee powder maker is based in Salem and so is the famous KPN Travels a well managed private bus service operator. The now defunct Modern theaters studio was also based in Salem. I understand a few small BPO companies have setup shop in Salem but it is too small at present to be of significance.

Commercially, Salem is an important regional centre. Its location at the crossroads of major highway networks, NH 7 (Bangalore and beyond - Kanyakumari), NH 68 to Chennai via Ulundurpettai and NH 47 to Trivandrum via Coimbatore has helped in making it a major trading and marketing centre. It is also in the main railway line linking Chennai and north India with Kerala and thus is well connected with most of the country. It is also the district headquarters of Salem district and the largest urban center between Bangalore and Coimbatore. Although there is an airstrip in Salem, unfortunately, its location very near to other major metros has left it lie unutilised so far.

The industrial and commercial activites in the region have made Salem more affluent than the bigger cities of Madurai and Trichy. It can be seen in the bright shopping complexes on the main NH road along the City bus station and the increasing traffic congestion in the city. The Salem bus stand was the largest (not the cleanest) in Tamilnadu until the CMBT came up in Chennai.

Until recently Salem was not amongst the major educational centres in TN. Although it had reputed schools, arts/science colleges and even an engineering college it's lack of of a medical college and university was a major drawback. The opening of Mohan Kumaramangalam medical college and the private Vinayaka mission colleges as well as Periyar university has given a fillip to the educational facilities in the region but it still is rated way behind other centres of Tamilnadu in this regard.
Tourism in Salem is non-existent. The only link to tourism is through the hill station of Yercaud 35 kms away. There is very little potential to grow it either apart from promoting it as a transport and facilities hub for hill based tourist and adventure activities.
The biggest advantage and drawback for Salem in growing further is its nearness to Bangalore and to a lesser extent Coimbatore. Much of the people of this region have hitched their economic future with these two cities and the possibilites of Salem becoming anything more than a big regional urban centre within Tamilnadu looks remote.

18 Comments:

Blogger Shpriya said...

First time visit :)
Nice write-up about Salem. When I was there, I found that they have an extraordinary interest for movies and there are two local TV channels, Polimer Channel and CTN which are very popular among the residents.

12:37 PM  
Blogger ada-paavi!!!! said...

nice piece on salem, ive been there a few times, wht ive always liked bout the city is the food, madras a vittu engai ponalum, i always like the food

8:03 AM  
Blogger SLN said...

@shpriya

Thanks for your comments. I was meaning to write about the cinemas in Salem but forgot. IIRC, the area near old bus stand had over 20 cinema theatres. I also enjoyed the Polimer and CTN channels when I was there.

@Ada-paavi

Thanks for the comments. I have myself eaten only in Hotel Saravana Bhavan, Salem and I liked it very much.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Vijayan G said...

Very good write-up! yeah.. there are about 20 odd theatres in old bus stand area.. and the new ARRS Multiplex near New Bus stand is an addition with 5 screens. About 30 theatres in the ciy feature DTS sound system.
Salem will soon be into IT Map. There are two IT Parks coming up in the city, one at Calicut Main Road on NH47 and another one at Steel Plant road, off the Bangalore Highway NH7.
Leading chain stores have targetted the city. With Odyssey already being placed its presence on the Sharadha College Road, at Kandaswarna Shopping Mall.

2:39 PM  
Blogger SLN said...

Hi Vijayan

Thanks for your visit and comments. Appreciate the information provided and happy to note the IT parks coming up. Will try and incorporate these info in Version 1.1 :)

Cheers
SLN

10:46 AM  
Blogger Vijayan G said...

Sheveroys Hotels of Yercaud, are opening a Mega Food Mall in Salem city, at Five Roads, near Gokulam Hospitals. Pizza Corner is opening an outlet in the city. Already MarryBrown has opened an outlet in Salem

5:41 PM  
Blogger Senthil said...

Does anybody know more information about two IT parks in Salem? When, where, who is building etc?

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good description about Salem.
Silver business is well established and is growing fast.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really a good description about the city. Note one more Salem is going to be a railway division for adjoining areas like Erode, Jolarpet, Karur and even Coimbatore. Further gauge conversion of Salem-Vridhachalam will make city to grow more faster than any other cities. Salem Town/Salem Market will get the connection to Chennai and Bangalore. Mega flyovers will come up on Cherry Road, Breets Road, Town RS Road, Mulvadi gate junction. Salem is the only corporation to get full fledged 4 lane/6 lane bye-pass roads. This city have better infrastructure next to Chennai and Coimbatore.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Salem has the best stratigic advantage as all major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore etc are about 4hrs connected by train. Salem Division annouced is a huge plus. Nammakkal, Rasipuram, trichengodu, erode anlong with Salem has many educational institututions. Also The population density is the third largest next to Chennai and Coimbatore. Salem has two universities as well. Infact it is much bigger than Trichy. But the corporation limit in salem does not include many major towns around the City. Salem can be the second best tier-II city in Tamilnadu.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Salem has the best stratigic advantage as all major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore etc are about 4hrs connected by train. Salem Division annouced is a huge plus. Nammakkal, Rasipuram, trichengodu, erode anlong with Salem has many educational institututions. Also The population density is the third largest next to Chennai and Coimbatore. Salem has two universities as well. Infact it is much bigger than Trichy. But the corporation limit in salem does not include many major towns around the City. Salem can be the second best tier-II city in Tamilnadu.

8:22 AM  
Blogger SLN said...

Hi Anon & Anon

Thanks for your visit and comments. I would certaiinly be happy to see Salem develop as a major city. Let us hope.

Cheers
SLN

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No updates for long time? Is there any updates about Salem? thanks..

6:57 PM  
Blogger Pal said...

Is there any update about Salem?

6:59 PM  
Blogger SLN said...

Hi Pal / Anon.

Not much more on Salem from me for now. I need to to finish my article on many other cities before revisiting the current ones with updates.

My blog has moved too to www.sln.in, any updates will happen over there only.

Thanks for your visit

SLN

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article is stale and very old. Major news about SALEM city developments can be found at

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=365021

thx

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting reading about Salem.
The world's largest exporter of Moringa products, Sanjeevani Herbals operate from Salem; their export wing is Salem Impex!
Kishore Jain, Marine Lines, Mumbai.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi 2 all.we have 2 bus stands(old,new) in salem.any other bus stand is moving to salem newly near vallisur or anywhere .if anybody knows just share that information 2 all.

7:37 PM  

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