Local Government and Infrastructure

Tirunelveli Muncipal Corporation is responsible for the City, the two adjoining municipalities of Palayamkottai and Melapalayam, and twelve other towns of approximately 20,000 population each.

The Corporation is responsible for 475 miles of roads. Most are single carriageway, but National Highway NH7 to the port town Thoothukudi is dual carriageway. Motorised vehicle ownership for the District in 2011 was 24% of households for two wheelers and 3% for four wheelers.

One third of commutes to work are on foot. In Tirunelveli District bicycle ownership averaged 46% of households. In 2015, 650 buses were operated in Tirunelveli District by Tamil Nadu State Corporation and 275 were registered to private operators, as well as 250 mini buses. There were 4,000 taxis, 3,000 maxicabs and over 8,500 registered auto-rickshaws.

The average household size in Tamil Nadu is 3.5 persons. 55% of households do not have their own toilet. 

Water & Trees

The average annual rainfall is 680 millimetres. Maximum precipitation occurs during the northeast monsoon in October (166mm) and November (195mm), when extensive flooding occurs. Lowest precipitation is June (16mm) and July (13mm), when water shortages are common. In the city water supply is provided by the Tirunelveli City Corporation from the Tamirabarani River. Tamil Nadu Water supply And Drainage Board (TWAD) is responsible for the rest of the District.

Trees have been disappearing from the landscape in recent generations, but local charity SCAD has a programme of planting 100,000 indigenous new trees and sowing about 50,000 seeds per annum. Trees increase green cover and provide fodder and fuels. In turn increasing trees brings more rainfall.

Commerce & Education

Agriculture and food processing are the largest sectors. There are also cement factories, tobacco companies, Tirunelveli is known for its educational institutions, many of which are located at Palayamkottai (east of Tirunelveli) known as the “Oxford of South India”. The District has a literacy rate of 77%, which is above the state average. As of 2005–2006, the District had a total of 2,500 schools, one university, four government colleges, eleven government-sponsored and seven private colleges.

Population Growth

The District population growth in the decade 2001 to 2011 was 14%, with rural areas growing at 12% and Tirunelveli City growing at 15%.

The Tirunelvlei Local Planning Authority (TLPA) has a master plan to 2021, and within it detailed plans for each area. The plan proposes an expansion of residential areas into the existing agricultural areas on the edge of the city.

In the seven years between 1999-2006 the built-up area of the city expanded by about 40 sq.km, while agricultural land declined almost 75 sq.km and water bodies reduced by 21sq.km. Much of the land built upon was previously used to feed the local population.

Smart City

Tirunelveli entered Prime Minister Ghodi’s recent Smart City Challenge, and was ranked 56th nationally. The bid was based on a widespread public consultation including social media, and proposed pedestrianisation around the temple area and construction of a Non-Motorised Transport corridor to promote walking, as well as a new settlement of 250 acres within 10km of the city’s boundaries.
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Tirunelveli - Local Planning Area Existing land use 2005

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Tirunelveli - Local Planning Area Proposed land use 2021