For a potential-linked urban plan
Posted on December 3, 2010 | Author: Sudhansu R Das | View 211 | Comment : 1
The inability to link infrastructure with the needs of the people has made many beautiful Indian cities unlivable. Many mega urban development projects that are sanctioned seldom improve the quality of life.Urban India needs a scientific potential-linked development plan based on the actual needs of people.
Ever-increasing demand for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers in urban areas, availability of basic amenities, societal behaviour change for urban life, high paid jobs in IT, manufacturing and service sector trigger largescale migration of people to urban centers.
As per the 2001 Census, 42.58 million Indians live in nearly 3,700 urban centres in comparison to 60 million Indians in 1947.
The urban population will swell to 420 million by 2011 and it is projected 800 million Indians will live in cities in 2045.
Such huge population would make urban areas unlivable.
The Human Development Report compiled by the Brihan Mumbai Municipality Corporation with the help of United Nation Development Programme found 54.1% of the population in Mumbai lives in slums.
The inability to link infrastructure development with the actual need of the people has converted many beautiful Indian cities into torture chambers.
Many mega urban development projects that are sanctioned seldom improve the quality of life but contribute to create a mess.
For example, mindless urban planning had wiped out 3,000 water bodies in and around Chennai and force government to spend public money worth hundreds of crores on desalination plant.
In Chennai, a middle class family spends an average . 1,500 per month for buying water for day-to-day use.
Once Bangalore had more than 250 lakes.
Today, only a few are left and that too in bad shape.
Urban planning often accommodates the interest of the realty sector much to the inconvenience of the majority urabanites.
Pune was naturally air-conditioned up to the early 1990s.
Today summer months are unbearable without air-conditioners.
Every year, the city adds more than one lakh automobiles due to the absence of a well-connected public transportation system. Along with the automobiles, the city adds 30% more heart patients annually.
Once, Bhopal was known as city of lakes.
Today,theBadaTalab,thecity’slifeline, shows its floor in summer months.
Rapid spread of concrete area around the lake is the main reason for the slow death of this beautiful lake.
So rapacious is the politico-business greed that it destroys even the basic needs for human survival.
The July 26, 2006 rain in Mumbai that killed 400 commuters is a grim reminder to urban planners as the death happened due to choked drains and disappearance of river systems from the city.
In Hyderabad, the water table is abysmally low due to the increase in concrete surface that does not allow rainwater to sip.
French architect Le Corbusier had planned Bhubaneswar, a town is going to be a mega city with rapid expansion in about 40-km radius.
Huge concrete structures are fast replacing water bodies, open space and trees.
In fact, most of the urban ailments in India originate from the corporate election.
Candidates invest crores of rupees to get elected only to earn 10 times more from needless urban infrastructure projects.
As per a recent study by the RBI’s department of economic analysis & policy, the total investment requirement for urban infrastructure is pegged at . 63,000 crore per annum for the next 10 years up to 2013-14.
The Rajiv Awas Yojana aims to make India slum-free by 2014.
Under the scheme, 74 cities having a population of five lakh and above will be covered.
Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, 93 cities have been identified for world-class infrastructure.
Over four years . 1,12,000 crore have been reportedly spent to build infrastructure in 65 cities.
In fact, flyovers, metro rail, mono rail, skywalk and local trains are temporary solutions.
In old London city area, the average speed of automobile is not more than 12 km per hour in spite of world class urban infrastructure.
More than the funds, urban India needs a scientific potential-linked development plan based on actual need of people.
When cycle track can solve commuters’ problems, we plan for metro rail or a skywalk.
More than 5,50,000 people in Berlin use bicycle and the popularity of this environment-friendly vehicle is growing in entire Europe and in many Asian nations.
Cycle track should be the integral part of urban planning in India as it would reduce automobiles on roads.
It will improve health, improve knee function, cleanse the city air and reduce noise level.
Indian cities must have exclusive heritage zone, history zone, multi-storied building zone, commercial zone, hawkers’ zone and zone for residential houses, etc, like European cities.
For this to take place, we need to devise a new urban renewal blueprint.
Unless we care to listen to the sane voices from different nations and make plan as per our need, we may lose both — rural and urban centres.