Cuddalore - General Information
Cuddalore is a town which is the headquarters of the Cuddalore District in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Scholars believe the name Cuddalore is derived from Koodalur, meaning confluence in Tamil. While the early history of Cuddalore remains unclear, the town first rose to prominence during the reign of Pallavas and Medieval Cholas. After the fall of Cholas, the town was ruled by various dynasties like Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks, Thanjavur, Tipu Sultan, French and the British Empire. Cuddalore was the scene of Seven Years' War and the Battle of Cuddalore in 1758 between the French and British. It has been a part of independent India since 1947. During the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Cuddalore was one of the affected towns, with 572 casualties.
Apart from fishing and port related industries, Cuddalore houses chemical, pharmacological and energy industries in SIPCOT, an industrial estate set up by the state government. The town is administered by a special-grade municipality covering an area of 27.69 km2 (10.69 sq mi) and had a population of 173,676 in 2011. Cuddalore is a part of the Cuddalore legislative assembly constituency which is a part of the Cuddalore Lok Sabha constituency.
There are a total of nine schools, two arts and science colleges and two engineering colleges in the town. There is one government hospital, six municipal maternity homes and 37 other private hospitals that take care of the healthcare needs of the citizens. Roadways are the major means of transportation, while the town also has rail connectivity. The nearest airport is Chennai International Airport, located 200 km (120 mi) away from the town. The nearest major seaport is Karaikal port, located 100 km (62 mi) away from the town.
Prior to English control, Cuddalore was called "Koodalur" meaning "confluence" in Tamil. It is the place where the Pennaiyar, Kedilam, Paravanar and Uppanaar rivers join. The Cuddalore district historically consisted of "Chola Naadu" and "Nadu Naadu". The name Nadu Naadu meaning "middle country", may originate from its location between Chola Nadu and "Thondai Mandalam"; or between the "Pallava Kingdom" and the "Chola Kingdom"; or between central territories and the ocean.
From ancient times the old town has been a seaport. Through the centuries, Cuddalore has been subject to a number of foreign powers including the Netherlands, Portugal, France and more recently, the British.
In the 1600s, the French and English came to Cuddalore for trade and business. The French established a settlement at Pondicherry and the British at Cuddalore. The French and English, while engaged in the Seven Years' War, fought the naval "Battle of Cuddalore" on 29 April 1758.
It was an indecisive battle between a British squadron, under Vice-Admiral George Pocock and a French squadron, under Comte d'Aché and the newly appointed Governor General Comte Thomas Lally. Cuddalore surrendered to French troops on 29 April 1758. From 1789 to 1794, there was further unrest in Cuddalore due to the War of American Independence and the Second Anglo-Mysore War culminating in the siege of Cuddalore, after which the town was returned to Britain as part of a peace treaty.
In 1782, during the Second Anglo Mysore war, the French troops allied with Tipu Sultan and won over the British, after which Cuddalore became a chief port against the French. In 1783, General James Stuart (1735-93) led his troops to fend off French troops. There were five different naval actions off the coast during the same year, all of which were indecisive.
Some streets in Cuddalore retain British names such as Clive street, Wellington street, Sloper Street, Canning Street, Rope Street(Rope Street, Wellington Street, Sloper Street and Canning Street jointly known as Salangukara Village), Lawrence road and Imperial road. The Cuddalore Central Prison, opened in 1865, is an historically important landmark. Subramanya Bharathi and other political leaders served prison terms there.
Tsunami waves that followed the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake near Sumatra hit the eastern coast of India on 26 December 2004 at 0832h, resulting in 572 casualties. Several fishing hamlets disappeared, while Silver Beach and the historically important Cuddalore Port were devastated. Fort St. David survived without damage. In 2012, Cyclone Thane caused widespread damage to crops and buildings.
Cuddalore is located at 11.75°N 79.75°E. It has an average elevation of 6 m (20 ft). The land is completely flat with large deposits of black and alluvial soil inland and coarse sand near the seashore. The sandstone deposits in the town are popular.
The Pennayar River runs north of the town, while Gadilam River runs across it. Cuddalore is situated at a distance of 200 km (120 mi) from the state capital Chennai and 18 km (11 mi) from Puducherry, the neighbouring union territory. The nearest airport is at Chennai, 200 km (120 mi) kilometres from Cuddalore. The period from November to February in Cuddalore is pleasant, with a climate full of warm days and cool nights. The onset of summer is from March, with the mercury reaching its peak by the end of May and June. The average temperatures range from 37 °C (99 °F) in January to 22.5 °C (72.5 °F) in May and June.
Summer rains are sparse and the first monsoon, the South-West monsoon, sets in June and continues till September. North-East monsoon sets in October and continues till January. The rainfall during South-West monsoon period is much lower than that of North-East monsoon. The average rainfall is 1,400 mm (55 in), most of which is contributed by the North-East monsoon.
According to 2011 census, Cuddalore had a population of 173,636 with a sex-ratio of 1,026 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 17,403 were under the age of six, constituting 8,869 males and 8,534 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 13.22% and .3% of the population respectively.
The average literacy of the city was 78.92%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The city had a total of 42174 households. There were a total of 62,115 workers, comprising 561 cultivators, 1,856 main agricultural labourers, 1,464 in house hold industries, 48,337 other workers, 9,897 marginal workers, 139 marginal cultivators, 952 marginal agricultural labourers, 771 marginal workers in household industries and 8,035 other marginal workers.
As of 2007, a total 1,665 ha (4,110 acres) (11.5%) of the land was used for residential, 122 ha (300 acres) (0.8%) for commercial, 400 ha (990 acres) (2.7%) for industrial, 195 ha (480 acres) (1.4%) for public and semi public purposes and 120 ha (300 acres) (0.8%) for educational purposes. Out of the undeveloped land area, 3,089 ha (7,630 acres) (21.3%) is under land and water, 7,296.97 ha (18,031.2 acres) (50.5%) of the area is used for agricultural purposes, 770 ha (1,900 acres) (5.4%) is vacant land in quarries and hillocks and 810 ha (2,000 acres) (5.6%) for transport and communication. As of 2008, there were a total of 29 notified slums, with 59,075 comprising 37.23% of the total population residing in those.
Being a coastal town, historically, Cuddalore's main industry was fishing. Although Cuddalore was once a port town, the shipping trade has now moved to larger centres. Cuddalore also hosts the heavy chemical, pharmacological and energy industries in SIPCOT, an industrial estate set up by the state government. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) planned to commence power plants around the town.
The industrial development in Cuddalore's recent past has resulted in pollution. SIPCOT, the major industrial area in the town is a "global toxic hotspot" Local communities have voiced concern about industrialization and pollution.
The SIPCOT chemical industry estate in Cuddalore was investigated in November 2002 by a team from the Indian People's Tribunal headed by J. Kanakaraj. The team reported "a noticeable stench of chemicals in the air". The report published in July 2003 reported that "Villages like Kudikadu, Thaikal, Eachangadu and Sonnanchavadi lie in a virtual 'gas chamber' surrounded on three sides by chemical factories and bounded on the fourth by the river".
There are reports of illegal dumping of toxic waste. On 22 March 2008, a report for the "Tamil Nadu Pollution Board" prepared by the Nagpur-based "National Environmental Engineering Research Institute" found that residents of the SIPCOT area of Cuddalore were at least 2000 times more likely than their counterparts to contract cancer in their lifetimes due to exposure to high levels of toxic gases from chemical industries in the region.
The Cuddalore Port operates at the confluence of the Gadilam river and the Paravanar river. The ships anchor in mid stream at a distance of about a mile from the shore, where cargo is loaded and discharged through lighters. There is a bar at the mouth of the combined river, which maintains a depth of 5 to 6 feet at low water. During the months of July to September, the depth over the bar is reduced to about 3 to 4 feet. Other ports under construction in Cuddalore are Thiruchopuram port, Silambimangalam port, Parangipettai port (Porto Nova) and PY-03 Oil Field (Operational).
Education and utility services
There are a total of nine schools in Cuddalore. The town has three arts and science colleges, namely Periyar Arts College, St. Joseph Arts & Science College and C. Kandasamy Naidu College for Women (KNC). There are two engineering colleges in the town, namely, Krishnasamy Memorial Engineering College and Jayaram Engineering College. Krishnasamy Memorial Polytechnic and Padaleeswarar Polytechnic are the two polytechnic college in the town. There are six Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in the town, two of which are operated by the government.
Electricity supply to Cuddalore is regulated and distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). The town and its suburbs forms the Cuddalore Electricity Distribution Circle. A chief distribution engineer is stationed at the regional headquarters. Water supply is provided to the town by the Cuddalore municipality from three sources, namely Pennaiyar River, borewells from Caper Hills and Thirvanthipuram. The water from the sources is stored in ten overhead tanks located in various parts of the town. During the period 2000–01, a total of 6.065 million litres of water was supplied every day to households in the town.
About 103 tonnes of solid waste are collected from Cuddalore every day by door-to-door collection. Subsequently, the sanitary department of the Cuddalore municipality carries out the source segregation and dumping. The coverage of solid waste management had an efficiency of 100 per cent as of 2001. There is no underground drainage system in the town, and the sewerage system for disposal of sullage is through septic tanks, open drains and public conveniences. The municipality maintains stormwater drains for 65 km (40 mi), covering 32% of municipal roads. There is one government hospital, six municipal maternity homes and 37 other private hospitals that take care of the healthcare needs of the citizens.
There are a total of 4,517 street lamps in the town: 275 sodium lamps, 201 mercury vapour lamps and 4,041 tube lights in the town. The municipality operates five markets, namely, Aringar Anna Daily Market at Manjakuppam, Banbari Daily Market at Thirupapuliyur, Bakthavachalam Daily Market at Cuddalore OT, Pudupalayam Daily Market at Pudupalayam and Devanampattinam Daily Market at Devanampattinam, that cater to the needs of the town and the surrounding rural areas.
Pataleeswarar temple, a Hindu temple, built during the 7th century is the most prominent landmark in Cuddalore. The name, Thirupathipuliyur, is associated with the legend behind the temple. The temple is revered in the verses of 7th century Saiva saints Appar and Tirugnanasambandar in their works in Tevaram. The Devanathaswami Temple, located in Thiruvanthipuram, is another Hindu pilgrimage site around Cuddalore.
Silver Beach is a 2 km (1.2 mi) long beach located in Cuddalore and is another prominent visitor attraction of the town. Fort St David, situated on the river Gadilam near Devanampattinam and built in 1653 A.D. by Elihu Yale, a Hindu merchant, is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Cuddalore.
In 1677, when Shivaji captured Gingee, the fort fell into the hands of the Marathas. In 1690, the British East India Company purchased the fort and the adjacent villages (within "ye randome shott of a piece of ordnance".) A great gun was fired to different points of the compass and all the country within its range, including the town of Cuddalore, passed into the possession of the English. The villages thus obtained are called "cannon ball villages".
The fortifications were strengthened in 1693, 1698, 1702, 1725, 1740 and 1745. In 1746 Fort St. David became the British headquarters for British India. The British ruled a greater part of south India (Tamil Nadu, parts of present-day Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka) from Fort St. David. An attack by Dupleix was successfully repulsed.
In 1756, Clive was appointed governor. The French captured the fort in 1758 but in 1760 relinquished it to Sir Eyre Coote of the British East India Company. The French recaptured the fort in 1782 and held it in 1783 during the "Battle of Cuddalore". In 1785 the fort passed into British possession. By this time, however, the centre of British rule was Fort St George.
The Garden House was the official residence of the Cuddalore District Collector, Robert Clive. It is typical of later medieval architecture. The roof of the Garden House was built using only bricks and slaked lime with no steel and wood.