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Thoothukudi – General Information
Thoothukudi District, also known as Tuticorin District is a district in Tamilnadu state in southern India. The district was formed by dividing Tirunelveli district in 1986 and Thoothukudi is the district headquarters. The district is known for pearl cultivation, with an abundance of pearls being found in the seas offshore. It was formerly ruled by one of the oldest kingdoms in India, the Pandyan Dynasty with the port of Korkai through which trade with Rome happened. The archaeological site at Adichanallur holds the remains of the ancient Tamil civilization.
As of 2011, the district had a population of 1,750,176 with a sex-ratio of 1,023 females for every 1,000 males. Tuticorin, also known as Thoothukudi is a port city & a Municipal Corporation & an industrial city in Thoothukudi district of the Indian state of Tamilnadu. The city lies in the Coromandel Coast off Bay of Bengal. Thoothukudi is the headquarters of Thoothukudi District. It is located about 590 kilometres (367 miles) south of Chennai and 190 kilometres (118 miles) northeast of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).
According to Confederation of Indian Industry, Thoothukudi has the second highest Human Development Index in Tamilnadu next to Chennai. Tuticorin City serves as the headquarters of Tamilnadu Mercantile Bank Limited. Major educational establishments in the city include Thoothukudi Government Medical College, Fisheries College and Research Institute, Marine Training Academy, V.O.C. Arts & Science College, Government Polytechnic College, & Anna University Tuticorin Campus. Tuticorin Port, is one of the Fastest growing Major Ports in India. Tuticorin is an “Emerging Energy and Industrial hub of South India”.
Thoothukudi district is situated in the south-eastern corner of Tamilnadu. It is bounded on the north by the districts of Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, and Ramanathapuram, on the east and southeast by the Gulf of Mannar and on the west and southwest by Tirunelveli district. The total area of the district is 4621 km². The district of Thoothukudi was carved out as a separate district on 20 October 1986 as a result of bifurcation of the Tirunelveli district.
Geography & Climate
Thoothukudi is a port town situated in the Gulf of Mannar about 125 km (78 mi) North of Cape Commorin and its environs form part of the coastal belt which forms a continuous stretch of the flat country relieved here and there by small rock out crops. The region, surrounding Thoothukudi is liberally dotted with rain fed tanks.
Red soils are found on the southern side of the Thoothukudi town is composed quartz and variable quantities of fine red dry dust. The port is an all-weather one. The bay formed by the Hare Island, Devils point and the main land gives ample protection to the lighters from monosonic weather. The beach of Thoothukudi is featured with calm breeze and very low waves giving an image of a big river.
Thoothukudi is located at 8.53°N 78.36°E. Thoothukudi is located in South India, on the Gulf of Mannar, about 540 kilometres (340 miles) south of Chennai & 125 kilometres (78 miles) north of Kanyakumari. The hinterlands of the port of the city is connected to the districts of Madurai, Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram and Tiruchirapalli. The city mostly has a flat terrain and roughly divided into two by the Buckle channel. Being in coastal region, the soil is mostly clay sandy and the water table varies between 1 and 4 m (3.3 and 13.1 ft.) below ground level.
The city has loose soil with thorny shrubs in the north and salt pans in the south. The city experiences tropical climatic conditions characterised with immensely hot summer, gentle winter and frequent rain showers. Summer extends between March and June when the climate is very humid. Thoothukudi registers the maximum temperature of 39 °C (102 °F) and the minimum temperature of 32 °C (90 °F).
The city receives adequate rainfall during the months of October and November. The city receives around 444 mm (17.5 in) rainfall from the Northeast monsoon, 117.7 mm (4.63 in) during summer, 74.6 mm (2.9 inches) during winter and 63.1 mm (2.5 inches) during the South-west monsoon season. The coolest month is January and the hottest months are from May to June. The city has a very high humidity being in the coastal sector.
The 21 islands between Thoothukudi and Rameswaram shores in the Gulf of Mannar are notified as the first Marine Biosphere Reserve of India. About 36,000 species of flora and fauna exist in the region covered with mangroves, sandy shores, sea grass beds that are conducive for turtle nesting. The regions around the Thoothukudi shores are home to rare marine flora and fauna.
Coral reefs and pearl oysters are some of the exotic species while algae, reef fish, holothurians, shrimps, lobsters, crabs and Mollusca are very common. Out of 600 recorded varieties of fish in the region, 72 are found to be commercially important. The thermal discharge from the thermal plants and excessive brine run off from the salt pans impacts the flora and fauna in the region to a large extent.
Water Bodies
There are no large reservoirs in this district so the Papanasam and Manimuthar dams located in the Tirunelveli district in the Thamirabarani River flow are the main sources of irrigation. Other than the Thamirabarani River, the river Vaippar in Vilathikulam taluk, the river Karumeni which traverses through Sattankulam and Thiruchendur taluks, Palayakayal are all sources.
Administrative Divisions
The district is divided into twelve revenue blocks for rural and urban development. The twelve revenue blocks are Tuticorin, Thiruchendur, Udangudi, Sathankulam, Srivaikundam, Alwarthirunagari, Karungulam, Ottapidaram, Kovilpatti, Kayathar, Vilathikulam, and Pudur. The district has one Municipal Corporation, Thoothukudi, two municipalities, Kayalpattinam and Kovilpatti, nineteen town panchayats, and 403 panchayat villages.
There is one parliamentary constituency for the district, Thoothukudi Constituency, and six assembly constituencies:
·        Kovilpatti Assembly Constituency
·        Ottapidaram Assembly Constituency
·        Srivaikundam Assembly Constituency
·        Thiruchendur Assembly Constituency
·        Thoothukudi Assembly Constituency
·        Vilathikulam Assembly Constituency
According to 2011 census, Thoothukudi district had a population of 1,750,176 with a sex-ratio of 1,023 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 183,763 were under the age of six, constituting 93,605 males and 90,158 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, accounted for 19.88% and 0.28% of the population respectively.
Thoothukudi taluk
The average literacy of the district was 77.12%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The district had a total of 462,010 households. There were a total of 748,095 workers, comprising 44,633 cultivators, 161,418 main agricultural labourers, 17,872 in house hold industries, 433,524 other workers, 90,648 marginal workers, 3,882 marginal cultivators, 39,226 marginal agricultural labourers, 4,991 marginal workers in household industries and 42,549 other marginal workers.
Tuticorin port contributes majorly to the economy of the district besides providing employment. Tuticorin hosts industries such as SPIC, Sterlite, Tuticorin alkaline chemicals, DCW zirconium plant and numerous salt packing companies. Many coal based power plants are at various stages of commissioning. Kovilpatti consists of many small sized industries especially match stick industries.
Salt pans in and around the city contribute majorly to the economy of the city. The salt pans produce 1.2 million tonnes of salt every year, contributing to 90% of the salt produced in the state and 50% needed by the chemical industries of the state. The other major industries are shipping, fishing, and agricultural, power and chemical industries.
Fishing is one of the largest contributors to the local economy. Thoothukudi Fishing Harbour is one of the oldest and largest in Tamilnadu. The Tuticorin Thermal Power Station has five 210 megawatt generators. The first generator was commissioned in July 1979. The thermal power plants under construction include the coal-based 1000 MW NLC TNEB Power Plant.
In addition to this there are several private power plants like Ind Barath Power Limited, Coastal Energen, and Sterlite Industries Captive power plant. Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation, Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals, Heavy Water Board Plant, Sterlite Industries, Venus Home Appliances, Madura Coats and Mills, Dhrangadhra Chemical works, Kilburn Chemicals, Nila Sea foods, Diamond Sea foods, Maris Associates, VVD Coconut oil mill, AVM oil mill, Ramesh flowers, Agsar Paints, Tuticorin Spinning Mills Ltd and KSPS Salts are some of the small scale and large scale industries in the city.
Thoothukudi City is the headquarters Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Limited. It is one of the fastest growing banks in India during the period of 2007-2012. Its total business is worth 360 billion. The bank targets a Total Business of 500 Billion INR in 2014-15. The city also has a research institute set up by Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute and a Spices laboratory set up by Spices Board of India. Thoothukudi also has a State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Industrial Estate and SIDCO’s Industrial Estate which comprises several Small scale and Medium scale Industries.
Paddy, is cultivated in the Palayakayal Srivaikundam, Sattankulam and Thiruchendur taluks. Cumbu, Cholam, Kuthiraivali & other pulses are raised in the dry tracts of Kovilpatti, Vilathikulam, Nagalapuram Ottapidaram, and Thoothukudi taluks. Cotton is cultivated in Kovilpatti, Ottapidaram and Thoothukudi Taluks. Groundnut Cultivation is undertaken in Kovilpatti, Thiruchendur, and Sattankulam taluks.
Groundnut cake is being used as manure and cattle feed. Nagalapuram makes its economy to be solely dependent agriculture. Main business of this area is dry chilly, cholam, Cumbu wood charcoal, etc. With 35% share, the district is the top producer of Cumbu in Tamil Nadu. Palmyrah Trees are grown mostly in Thiruchendur, Srivaikundam, Sattankulam and Vilathikulam taluks. Jaggery, is produced from palmyrah juice; the production of jaggery is the main occupation of the people of Thiruchendur and Sattankulam taluks. Banana & other vegetables are raised in Srivaikundam and Thiruchendur taluks.
Salt Production
The district constitutes 70 per cent of the total salt production of Tamilnadu and 30 per cent of that of India. Tamil Nadu is the second largest producer of Salt in India next to Gujarat.
Thoothukudi Port
To cope with the increasing trade through Thoothukudi, the Government of India sanctioned the construction of an all-weather Port at Thoothukudi. On 11 July 1974, the newly constructed Thoothukudi port was declared the tenth major port in India Second only to JN Port (Mumbai) in size. Thoothukudi is an artificial port. During the union budget of 2014-2015, Central government sanctioned an 11,500 crore Outer harbour development program for Thoothukudi port which is expected to give a push to the export import sector in southern Tamilnadu.
The project would commence in 2015 and completed by 2020. The DPR for Outer Harbour was released recently by Union Shipping Minister. As a Port city, almost all major Logistics company has set up office in Thoothukudi. The Port also has a dedicated Container terminal operated by PSA International. The Port recently commenced the operation of 2nd Container Terminal by ABG (DBGIT) Pvt Ltd. The port handled 0.5 million TEU’s in 2013-2014 to become third largest container port among Major Ports of India. The port is also a significant port due to the fact that it is located close to East-West International Sea Route.
The port has direct cargo and container vessel connectivity to all major ports in the world like Colombo, Singapore, JNPT (Mumbai), and Mundra, Jebel Ali, Salalah, Rotterdam, Karachi, Hong Kong and much more. This is the third international port in Tamilnadu and its second all-weather port. The port also helps to increase the tourism in the region. A new ferry has been commenced between Thoothukudi and Colombo.
The Station Commander, Indian Coast Guard Station Thoothukudi is located at Thoothukudi, Tamilnadu under the operational and administrative control of the Commander, Coast Guard Region (East), Chennai. The Coast Guard Station Thoothukudi was commissioned on 25 Apr 91 by Vice Admiral SW Lakhar, NM, VSM the then Director General Coast Guard. The Station Commander is responsible for Coast Guard operations in this area of jurisdiction in Gulf of Mannar.
Madurai-Thoothukudi Industrial Corridor
Thoothukudi is the end point of the proposed Madurai-Thoothukudi Industrial Corridor. The study for this Corridor was completed by the Government of Tamilnadu recently. The Corridor would consist of four manufacturing regions, one agri-business region, two business investment regions, a special tourism zone, one rural tourism hub and one knowledge hub.
The government estimates that this Corridor would attract 1, 90,000 crore industrial investment over a period of 10 years. The State Government recently formed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for Speedy implementation of the Project. The upcoming new railway line from Madurai to Thoothukudi via Aruppukkottai, Ettayapuram would serve as the backbone for the development of this corridor.
There are numerous educational institutions, colleges, schools providing education. The Agricultural College and Research Institute, Killikulam was established in 1984 – 85 as the third constituent College of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
Notable People
·        Poet Subramanya Bharathi
·        V. O. Chidambaram Pillai
·        Alagumuthu Kone,
·        Oomathurai,
·        Veerapandiya Kattabomman
·        Vellaiyathevan
·        Veeran Sundaralingam
Entertainment & Leisure
Thoothukudi has All India Radio Station which Carries AIR External Services for South Asia in English, Sinhala and Tamil (1053 kHz). FM Radio Stations in Thoothukudi City include Suryan FM (93.5 MHz), Hello FM (106.4 MHz). Thoothukudi is the landing point for the first undersea cable of BSNL connecting Tuticorin with Colombo.
The City has Tharuvai Multi-Purpose Stadium which is maintained by Sports Development Authority of Tamilnadu. Tuticorin Gymkhana Club has two Synthetic Turf Tennis courts; Thoothukudi is the only other place after Chennai in Tamilnadu to have this modern facility. Thoothukudi is known for its bakery items especially Macaroon. It is a light, baked confection including recipes like Almond, Coconut and Nut (fruit).Tuticorin macaroon, is slightly different from European macaroon since it contains Cashew as a main ingredient.
The Shiva temple in the center of the town and the Our Lady of Snows Basilica are the major religious attractions in the city. The Church attracts lot of visitors around the country and is one of catholic pilgrimage centers in India dedicated to Virgin Mary. Roche Park located on the southern corner of the city, Harbour Beach park, Nehru Park located in the northern side of the city, Rajaji Park near the Government hospital and Pearl Beach are the primary attractions of the city.
There are numerous islands located close to the city namely Hare Island, Nalla Thanni Island which attracts lot of visitors during weekends and festival seasons. The church festival celebrated yearly during August and the Shiva temple festivals like Adi Amavasai, Sasti and Chittirai chariot festivals are the major festivals of the land…..

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