Tamil Nadu – Transport and Communications Notes

Tamil Nadu – Transport and Communications Notes

7. Tamil Nadu – Transport and Communications

Transport and Communications play a vital role in the economic development of Tamil Nadu. Transport system helps with the easy movement of human beings and materials. It acts as the arteries and veins of national development. The transport system is of four types. Roadways, Railways, Waterways and Airways.


Of all the States of India, Tamil Nadu has a sound network of roads. All economic sectors of the State is inter connected and interlinked by roadways. The State Transport Corporations operate the public transport system along with private transport organizations. Compared to other States of India, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations operate bus services in a fullfledged, facilitating manner. Roadways may be classified into four types. They are:

  • National Highways;
  • State Highways;
  • District roads; and
  • Village Roads.

There are 24 National Highways covering a total distance of 4500km. Golden Quadrilateral Project. To meet the ever increasing demand from public, there are seven transport corporations functioning in the State. They are given below with their area of operation:

  1. Metropolitan Transport Corporation-Chennai and sub urban areas – Chennai as head quarters.
  2. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation-Villupuram(Cuddalore, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts with Villupuram as head quarters).
  3. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation- Kumbakonnam(Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Karaikkal(Puducherry) Thiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Sivagangai, Ramnad and Pudhukottai districts with Kumbakonam as head quarters).
  4. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation-Salem(Salem, Dharmapuri, Namakkal and Krishnagiri districts with Salem as head quarters).
  5. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation- Coimbatore(Coimbatore, Trippur, Erode and the Nilgiris districts with Coimbatore ass head quarters).
  6. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation – Madurai(Madurai, virudhunagar, Dindigul and Theni districts with Madurai as head quarters).
  7. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation- Thirunelveli(Thirunelveli, Thuthukudi, Kanyakumari districts with Thirunelveli as head quarters).

Table: Length of roads in km

Length of roads (in km.)
  1. National Highways
  2. State Highways
  3. Corporation and Municipalities
  4. Town Panchayat Roads
  5. Village Oanchayat Roads
  6. Panchayat Union roads
  7. Forest Roads







Apart from these the State has vehicular transport in the form of two and three wheeler vehicles which constitute about 83.9%. The number of registered vehicle population in Tamil Nadu had increased to 10.064 million in 2007-08. There are 64 vehicular zones in the States. Among the Regional Transport Offices, Chennai is the largest one which has – 61 centres.

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Tamilnadu Administration Notes

Tamil Nadu Roadways

Recent Developments in Road Transport

  • Conversion of single lane of State Highways into double lane and multilane.
  • The wideningand improvement of road from Madhyakailash in Adyar to Siruseri on Old Mahabalipuram Road(OMR) for about 24km was laid. This is referred to as IT Expressway and it serves as connectivity to all IT companies.
  • The East Coast Road(ECR) that is built along the coast of the Bay of Bengal connects Chennai and Cuddalore via Pondicherry. It gives rise to spectacular scenic views with beaches and fishermen hamlets. Presently, the East Coast Road has been extended to Thuthukudi via Chidambaram, Nagapattinam and Ramanathapuram.
  • The Golden Quadrilateral Project of the National Highway Development that runs for about 1,232 km in Tamil Nadu has been completed.
  • Most of the mofussil traffic had been diverted on to the byepass roads to avoid traffic congestion.
  • CMBT(Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus), which is the largest modern bus terminus in Asia, Koyambedu, Chennai has been established.
  • Bridges and flyovers have been constructed in many districts of Tamil Nadu along the National Highways. Some of the notable ones may be found in Chennai City-Chennai Airport Flyover, Perambur Flyover, Anna Flyover and Kathipara junction Flyover. In Vellore, Tindivanam and Ulundurpet flyovers have been constructed to ease vehicular traffic congestion.
  • Ring roads that encircle urban areas to divert vehicular traffic to avoid traffic passing through the centre have been implemented.
  • SETC operates a variety of buses, namely, semi-deluxe, super-deluxe, video coach, ultra-deluxe, Volvo-deluxe and air suspension buses within Tamil Nadu an adjacent States.


Tamil Nadu is well served with a good network of railways as part of the southern Railways with headquarters at Chennai. Rail tracks are classified into:

  • Broad gauge;
  • Metre gauge;
  • Narrow gauge; and
  • Suburban Railway.

In Tamil Nadu the total length of railway tracks is about 5,952 km and total number of railway stations is 532 to connect all the major cities of Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu Railways

The Southern Railways zones have been demarcated into six divisions, namely, Chennai, Madurai, Salem, Palakkad, Thiruvanathapuram and Thiruchirappalli. Main rail kunctions in the State are:

Chennai, Erode, Coimbatore, Thirunelveli, Madurai, Thiruchirappalli and Salem.

Chennai has a well established suburban railway network, with three different lines connecting Chennai with Arakkonam, Gummidipoondi and Chengalpattu, MRTDS Railway line connects Chennai Beach to Velachery.

Recent developments in railways

The metre gauge rails are being converted into broad gauge of which 26% of the length had been electrified.

Gauge conversion project has also been taken up from Chennai Beach to Tambaram, Chengalpattu and other suburban areas.


Waterways are the cheapest means of transport. It may be divided into inland waterways and seaways. The State has 1000 km of coastline. The three major ports of Tamil Nadu are Chennai, Thuthukudi and Ennore. They play a crucial role in the provision of infrastructural support in the State. Minor Ports are anchorage ports where cargo is transhipped from the vessel to the shore. Some of the minor ports are Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Kolachal and Rameswaram.

Cargo handled by major ports
  1. Chennai
  2. Tuticorin
  3. Ennore
(in million tonnes)




Projects Under Progress Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP)

It aims at creating a navigation channel from the Indian ocean to the Bay of Bengal through Gulf of Mannar, Adam’s Bridge, Palk Bay and Palk Strait within the Indian Border. This project is of strategic importance as it connects the neighbouring Continents and countries. It also acts as a catalyst for industrial development, super trade and commerce advance coastal shipping and generate employment.

Tamil Nadu

Major Seaports and Airports

  1. Buckingham canal that once connected Marakkanam in villupuram with Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh has lost its importance.
  2. Vedaranyam canal that connects Vedaranyam and Nagapattinam and has also lost its importance.


Airways is the fastest and costliest means of transport which can carry passengers, freight and mail. They connect local, regional, national and international cities. Tamil Nadu has a major international airport, which is named as Anna international Airport. It is connected to 19 countries and operating more than 169 direct flights every week. This is currently the third largest airport in India after Mumbai and Delhi.

Chennai has direct air services to Sri Lanka, Dubai, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, England, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. The air services that operate between Chennai and Coimbatore through Salem promote the industrial development of Salem and Mettur.

International Airports

  1. Chennai (Anna)
  2. Coimbatore
  3. Thirucirappalli

Domestic Airports

  1. Chennai (Kamarajar)
  2. Madurai
  3. Salem
  4. Tuticorin
Airports Cargo handled

(in tonnes)

  1. Anna International (Chennai)
  2. Kamarajar Domestic(Chennai)
  3. Coimbatore
  4. Madurai
  5. Thiruchirappalli






The means through which ideas and information are exchanged are called “called of Communication”. They are Personal Communication and Mass Communication Networks Personal Communication includes Postal Services, Telegram, Telephone, Internets, E-mail and Fax Mass Communication Network is carried on by the Government agencies. They are:

Print Media (books, Journals, magazines and newspapers) and Electronic Media (Radio, Television, Telecommunications, Mobile phone, E-mails, E-commerce and Teleprinter).

Postal Network and Telegraph

Tamil Nadu has four postal districts, namely:

Zone/ Districts Headquarters








The postal Department has allocated the Postal Index Number (PIN) to facilitate faster delivery of letters in the form of Air Mail Service, Railway Mail Service and Speed Post.

Postal and Telegraph offices in Tamil Nadu

Number of Post Offices alone: 12,115 Number of Post and telegraph offices : 3,504.

In India the BSNL is a major service provider. Direct calls can be made across the country and the world with STD(Subscriber Trunk Dialing), PCO(Public call office) and ISD (International Subscriber Dialing) facilities respectively. Today, Tamil Nadu has :

Telephone exchanges- 2,408

Telephone subscribers – 33,46,906

There is no Telegram service at present.

The private basic telecom services are provided by Bharati Infotel, TATA, Reliance, Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Uninor.


Telecom growth has intimate relationship with the IT sector. The State has witnessed a boom in the number of PCOs and the landline segment. Rapid expansion in the telecom sector is accompanied by simultaneous significant technological changes. Cell phones are one such advancement in the field of technology. Even the internet can be accessed using cell phones. The world is shrinking with increasing spread of the communication network. The following are the services provided by the BSNL:

Cellular Subscribers (Cumulative in Lakhs)

Year Tamil Nadu All India Percentage share to All India












The total number of cellular phones in use in Tamil Nadu: 3337087

Internet is provided to subscribers in the name of Data One Broadband.

Both post-paid and prepaid cell phone services are offered through public as well as private service providers,

All India Radio (AIR)

Indian radio broadcasting, which was started in 1927, became All India Radio(AIR) in 1936. AIR has 15 Radio Stations in Tamil Nadu. Private Broadcasters have set up FM Radio Stations and broadcast a variety of programmes on education, agriculture and entertainment.


It is one of the largest terrestrial networks in the world. All the major live telecasts of national and international programmes bring the viewers under one roof. It transmits education all programmes for Schools and Universities through “Edusat”.

Internet and Intranet

The present world is networked with the World Wide Web, known simply as the internet and Intranet. Of the two, internet plays an important role in the field of education and transfer on knowledge. Internet can be accessed by any individual from any part of the world.

An Internet is a private computer network. Intranets are websites that can only be accessed within a company through their internal network.


It is the latest means of communication which has brought revolution in communication all over the world. India’s communication network is operated through two satellites, namely, Indian National Satellite (INSAT) and Indian Remote Sensing Satellite(IRS). These two, apart from communications, assist in the prediction of meteorological events and natural resources management.

Print Media

It is another powerful medium to convey information through various news agencies of India that are operating under the umbrella-Press Trust of India, United News of India and Press Information Bureau.

Communication Technology and its advantages

It plays a vital part not only in personal life but also important role in business and education through satellites.’

People can send and receive mails using e-mail to get information on job vacancies, admission to Universities and to obtain birth and death certificates.

Shopping via internet(e-commerce) is a trend now-a-days.

Telemedicine makes it possible for people in remote areas to get correct treatment at appropriate times.

Online payment of phone bills, electricity bills and online ticket booking can also be made.

D-Mat form of shares for share broking and video conferencing using video chat through webcam are also done using internet.

Communication technology has developed to such an extent that even remote villages are connected to any part of the world, making the world a global village. GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is a way of sending data through radio waves which is currently being used to transmit voice. GPS (Global Positioning System) looks like a Mobile phone which captures signals from multiple satellites and provides information on the location of a place.

Disaster Management

The Earth we live is a dynamic self regulatory system. In the modern world with the best available communication facilities we are informed of extreme events that occur in any part of the world. In many circumstances events like the volcanic eruption, the earthquake and flood become harmful to human society.

Hazard is a dangerous event, natural or human induced that cause injury, loss of life and damage to property.

A Disaster is an event which causes enormous physical damage to property, huge loss of life and drastic change in the environment. The economic, social and cultural life of the people is affected and they need external help for food, shelter, medicine, financial and social support to overcome the disaster. Disaster is classified according to the origin as natural and man-made Disaster.

Forces Responsible for Disaster

Type of Disaster Forces Events
Geophysical disaster. Earth’s internal force. Earthquakes, landslides, tsunami and volcano.
Hydrological disaster. Surface water/glacier flow. Avalanches, flood.
Climatological disaster . Atmospheric events, Interaction of atmosphere and ocean. Extreme temperature, drought, wild fires, Cyclones, storms, surges, waves.
Man-made disaster. Human negligence. Industrial accidents, pollution, acid rain, road accidents, leakage of toxic waste, war.

Disaster Management:

Disaster Management involves a continuous process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing measures to avoid loss of life and property. The role of the authority is to frame safe disaster management methods to protect people and property. Disaster Management cycle includes four stages namely preparation, response, recovery and mitigation.

Disaster Management cycle

Hierarchy of Disaster Management in India

National Disaster Management Authority.(NDMA)
Headed by the Prime Minister
District Disaster Management Authority
Headed by the respective Chief Ministers
District Disaster Management Authority
Headed by the District Collectore or District Magistrate
Block Disaster Management Committee
Head by BDO and NGO’s
Village Committee for Disaster Management
Panchayat raj and Committee
The Tsunami of 2004 occurred in the Indian Ocean and the earthquake, China 2008 are the examples of the disaster.

The Bopal Gas(Methyl Isocyanate) tragedy of 1984 in a Carbide plant is also an instance of disaster.

India is prone to natural disasters due to its geological set up. The Indo-Australian plate is still moving at an average of 2 cm every year toward Eurasia, still pushing Tibet upwards. Thus Himalayan zone is vulnerable for earthquakes and landslide. Apart from this, floods and avalanches are also common here. The northern plains are affected by devasting floods during monsoon due to flat terrain and torrential rainfall. On the other hand North western part of India and central part of Deccan are mostly affected by drought, famine, at times flash floods and desertification.

The coastal regions of course are affected by cyclones, storm surge and rarely tsunami.


  1. First step is to strengthen the basic information about the area like landform, slope, climatic features, population, etc.,
  2. To list out the types of disaster the area is prone to like earthquake affecting zone, cyclone affecting area and so on.
  3. To identify the local area which is most vulnerable to such disaster, for instance, the either side of Adyar river and Velachery are flood prone area within Chennai city.
  4. Prepare schemes to deal with the disaster. Example
  5. Identify safe place for the people to be shifted to in case of disaster.
  6. Form a volunteer group involving local people with their contact number to coordinate at the time of emergency.
  7. Have a list of phone numbers of the nearest Police station, Fire service and Government hospital for immediate correspondence


  1. Alert people before the occurrence of disaster.
  2. Respond to the grave situation at the time of disaster, example, search, rescue and evacuate all the people from the site of incidence.
  3. Arrange the essential items for the people; example food, shelter, medicine and others.
  4. Assess the severity of disaster.


  1. Providing temporary housing facility, medical care, counselling, reuniting people with their kin and kith, financial support, etc.,
  2. Rehabilitation and reconstruction of the damaged property.


  1. All activities that reduce the impact of the event is said to be mitigation.

Warning systems in India

The Department of Ocean Development in association with Department of Science and Technology(DST), Department of Space(DOS) and CSIR Laboratories, has set up an Early Warning System for Tsunami and Storm Surges in the Indian Ocean. Generation of disaster warning is a multi-institutional effort.

The table gives the Departments responsible for warning the public of the disaster through proper media.

The following are the agencies of disaster management:

Agencies- Disaster Management

Disaster Agency
Heat wave/ Cold wave/ Cyclone / Earthquake Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)
Tsunami Indian National Centre for Oceanic Information System(INCOIS)
Land slides Geological Survey of India(GSI)
Flood Central Water Commission(CWC)
Avalanches Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO)

Warning systems in Tamil Nadu

Hotline between Indian Meteorological Department and the State Emergency Operation Centre(EOC) is established. Dissemination to the districts is done through telephone and fax. IP phones are also available, which connect the State with the district headquarters, taluks and blocks of the State. Wireless radio network; both high Frequency and very high frequency and very high frequency are available in the State.


Sudden overflow of large amount of water caused by heavy rainfall, cyclones, melting of ice, tsunami, etc., is called as flood. Low lying flood plains, coastal plains and river confluences are prone to flood.

Effects of flood:

  1. Loss of life and property.
  2. Displacement of people.
  3. Spread of contagious diseases such as cholera, malaria, etc.,
From 14 to 17 June 2103, the Indian state of Uttarakhand and adjoining areas received about 375% more than the normal rainfall during a normal monsoon. This caused the melting of Chorabari Glacier at the height of 3800 metres, and overflow of the Mandakini River which led to heavy floods near Gobindghat, Kedar Dome, Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand. The heavy rains resulted in large flash floods and massive landslide. Unscientific development activities undertaken in recent decades have resulted in high level of loss of property and lives. Roads constructed in haphazard style, new resorts and hotels built on fragile river banks and more than 70 hydroelectric projects in the watersheds of the state led to this disaster.


Areas of low pressure surrounded by high pressure is called as cyclone. It is anticlockwise in Northern hemisphere and clockwise in Southern hemisphere.

  • The centre of the cyclone called the eye of the storm is calm and clear without clouds.
  • The condensation of vapour releases more latent heat and that gives the energy for the cyclones to enhance further evaporation and formation of clouds.

India with a coast line of 7516 km is affected by 10% of world tropical cyclone. 13 coastal districts of our state are prone to cyclones. Cyclones occur in the month of May – June and in October – November. Cyclones are associated with strong squall, torrential rain, flood and storm surge. The damage by cyclones can be mitigated by growing shelter belts and restoring the mangrove forests where ever possible.


Long period of rainless weather condition is termed as drought. The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size and location of the affected area.

IMD has taken initiatives to cover all blocks in Tamil Nadu with Automatic Weather Stations Network.

Techniques of conservation of water like sprinkle irrigation, fertigation, pot hole irrigation, precise farming, and selection of suitable variety of crop that can with stand drought are some of the remedies that may reduce the impact of drought.


An earthquake is a sudden vibration or shake of the earth’s crust. It is caused by the circulation of the convection cells and the plate movements.

An earth quake may cause the landslide, avalanche, fire, soil liquefaction and Tsunami.

The place of the origin of an earthquake is called “FOCUS”. The deepest earthquake may have its focus at a depth of even 700km below the ground surface. The place on the ground surface which is perpendicular to the ‘focus’ is called ‘EPICENTRE’. The seismic waves move away from the source of the earthquake in the form of Primary waves(P Waves) Secondary waves (S Waves) and Long waves or surface waves (L waves).

Effects of Earth Quake:

  1. Changes in the shape of the earth’s surface.
  2. Loss of life and property.

Seismic Zones of Tamil Nadu

India is divided into four seismic zones, namely II, III, IV and V; Zone V is the high risk zone. Tamil Nadu falls under moderate and low risk zones.(Zone III and II).

The districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Vellore, Thiruvallur, Chennai, Kancheepuram, Thiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri districts are classified as moderate risk Zone III. The rest of the districts in Tamil Nadu comes under low risk zones II.


An extremely large wave in the sea caused by the earthquake occurring under the ocean floor. Apart from huge loss of life and property the environmental impact of tsunami is tremendous. It affects the quality of fresh water in the coastal aquifers. The salt is deposited on the arable land by sea water and it takes long time to restore the quality of soil.

Facts about tsunami

  • An underwater earthquake, a volcano eruption or a landslide mostly causes a tsunami.
  • Tsunami can travel as fact as miles per hour, without being noticed and can cross the entire ocean in less than a day.
  • When stuck in Tsunami, it is recommended to grab a floating object and allow the current to carry you.
  • The tsunami that occurred in December in the Indian Ocean is known to be the most powerful tsunami that has occurred till date.
  • Scientists can estimate an almost accurate time as to when and which part is tsunami most likely to occur.

Man Made Disaster

Fire, industrial, technological, transportation, nuclear accidents, biological disaster and war are all man-made disasters.


Fire is a disaster caused due to electrical short circuit, accidents in chemical factory, match and crackers factory, handling fire by the side of inflammable materials and near gas cylinders are also causing fire. Forest wild fires are a major disaster all over the world.

The environmental impact of forest fire includes emission of large amount of carbon dioxide leading to global warming, loss of bio diversity, affecting hydrological cycle, reducing photo synthetic activity, and health hazards to human beings. Safeguarding life and property from fire and forest fire involves three basic aspects:

  1. Prevention 2. Detection and 3. Extinguishing

Public awareness of what to do before fire, during fire and after fire is of critical importance.

Industrial and Technological disasters’

These disasters result from accidents, failures, mishap or misuse of some kind of technology.

The industrial Disaster:

The storage and transportation of various hazardous materials used in industries may result in industrial hazard accidents. Recently, major disaster threats have emerged in the chemical and nuclear industries.

Chemical industry faces multiple risks involved with its production, transportation, storage, usage and disposal off the effluents containing residual chemicals.

Chernobyl nuclear disaster 1986 (former USSR) and Japan, 2011 had experienced the most hazardous nuclear disaster.

General survival techniques

  • During flood forecast it is important to stock up on first aid items, non-perishable foods, 3 gallons of water per person for 3 days, battery operated radio for weather reports, extra batteries, personal hygiene necessities. Secure the cattle’s in an elevated place and store their fodder and potable water. Listen to the local Radio/ TV for instructions. Cut off all the electrical supply during flood and earthquake.
  • During drought period arrange fodder and drinking water for cattle in drought regions. Form hazard and risk management service groups and function effectively as per the advice of scientific community in each village.
  • During the earthquake be under the table, chair, kneel to the floor and protect yourself. Go near a sturdy wall, sit on the floor and hold the floor strongly and protect yourself. Use only torch lights, avoid candles and oil lamps because of fire risk, where earthquake occurred. Wear sandals while walking on rubbles.
  • In case of fire accident Call the nearby police station, (No. 100) or the fire service(No.101) as soon as the firebreak. If caught in a fire or smoke, escape by crawling low to the floor. If clothes are on fire, “Don’t Run; Stop, Drop and Roll”.
  • In case of Industrial hazards previous knowledge of every aspect of the chemical involved will help us to act promptly to mitigate the disaster. Know the safety measures and follow the rules strictly. Handle the chemicals with care,
  • Road accidents can be avoided if only legal licensed person above 18 is allowed to drive. Learn, preach, and practise safety rules during driving and walking along the road.
  • At railway crossings pay attention to signal and the swing barrier. In case of unmanned crossing, get down from the vehicle and look at both the sides of the track before crossing the track. Don’t touch objects which are suspicious. Never jump from a moving train.
  • On boarding the aircraft pay attention to the flight crew safety demonstration. Carefully read the safety briefing card available in the seat pocket.

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