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Salem (About this soundpronunciation ) (Tamil: சேலம்) is a major city in Salem district, located on the banks of Thirumanimutharu river in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located about 140 kilometres (87 mi) northwest of Tiruchirappalli, 170 kilometres (106 mi) northeast of Coimbatore, 206 kilometres (128 mi) southeast of Bangalore and about 340 kilometres (210 mi) southwest of the state capital, Chennai. Salem is the fifth largest urban agglomeration in the state by population and the fifth largest city in Tamil Nadu by area covering 124 km2 (48 sq mi).[5]

Salem is the headquarters of Salem district. The town was constituted as a municipality in 1867, and was upgraded to a special-grade municipality in 1979 and to a municipal corporation on 1 April 1994. The Salem municipal corporation has 72 wards,[24] each with an elected councillor.[25] The functions of the municipal corporation are divided into six departments: general administration and personnel, engineering, revenue, public health, city planning and information technology (IT). All six departments are governed by a municipal commissioner.[26] Legislative power is vested in the 60-member council,[27] headed by an elected chairperson and assisted by a deputy chairperson.[28]

Law and order is maintained by the Salem city subdivision of the Tamil Nadu Police, headed by a Deputy superintendent. Special units include prohibition enforcement, district crime, social justice and human rights, district crime records and a district-level special branch headed by a superintendent of police.



Salem is a major textile centre in Tamil Nadu, with more than 125 spinning mills, weaving units and garment units. Until the 1960s, it had fewer spinning mills. Private handloom weaving began to increase in the region after the 1960s and during the 1980s, the textile industry expanded with major spinning mills and dyeing units established supporting the industry.[48]

The area also houses a number of sago factories for the production starch. In Salem district, 34,000 hectares (130 sq mi) of land are devoted to cassava and 650 industrial units are engaged in tapioca processing. In 1981, the Salem Starch and Sago Manufacturers Service Industrial Co-operative Society (SAGOSERVE) was established to promote the sago industry and nearly 80 percent of the national demand for sago and starch is met by SAGOSERVE.[49] In and around Salem cassava yields are 25–30 tons per hectare, one of the highest in the world; the national average is 19 tons per hectare, and the world average is 10 tons.[50]

The Salem Steel Plant, a unit of the Steel Authority of India, produces cold-rolled stainless steel and a hot-rolled stainless-carbon steel alloy. The plant is being expanded and modernized, with plans for steel-melting and continuous-casting facilities.[51] The Southern Iron and Steel Company (part of JSW Steel) have their first integrated steel plant in Salem for the production of TMT corrosion-resistant bars and alloy steels.[52][53] The Salem region is rich in mineral ores, with some of the largest magnesite and bauxite deposits in India. Public and private magnesite factories include Burn Standard and Company, Dalmia Magnesites and Tata Refractories.[54]

Salem Mango[55] belt contributes the economy in large scale by exporting mangoes to foreign countries and supplying mangoes all over India. The Leigh Bazaar is the region’s largest market for agricultural products. The Tamil Nadu government and the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu are planning a 160-acre (65 ha) IT park in the city.[56][57] The Steel Authority of India is planning a 250-acre (100 ha) steel special economic zone in its Salem plant,[58] and an electrical and electronics industrial estate is in the Suramangalam area of the city.[59]

Salem is also famous for its silver jewelry. Shevapet, Sivathapuram and Panangadu are the areas where the Silver Products are made in cottage industries. Salem produces World Class Artistic Silver Anklets, Toe Rings, Neck Chains, Pendents and Silverware. Salem has the presence of Multi-National Corporations, including Capgemini, First American (India) Financial Corporation (FAI), Whirlpool Warehouse, Vee Technologies, and SourceHOV LLC. The Tamil Nadu government is trying to get Hindustan Aeronautics Limited onboard to set up a manufacturing unit at Salem as the state has been chosen for establishing the Center’s ambitious defense corridor project with Salem being one of the nodes.[60]


Localities in Salem