Thursday, March 18, 2010


Indian towns have been left to fend themselves...

The UPA government, when it came to power, promised to get rid of all slums from urban India - a promise that remains unfulfilled!! And it would remain so, till the time there is a focused approach towards creating urban infrastructure in towns as almost 70% of Indian population resides there. It is not that our villages are any better, but at least there are some initiatives with respect to rural development programmes, at least on the paper, but there is nothing worth its salt, with respect to town or township development. Whatever development has been happening in and around the towns, has been primarily driven by private initiatives which are real estate centric, but then nothing much has been happening even with respect to creation of enabling environment, by the government, both at the Central and the state levels.

Even today, most of the Indian towns are like dignified slums - suffering from dearth of basic infrastructure. Going by various studies conducted over the years, potable water is still a struggle. Most of the time, people have to rely on hand pumps that is again shared by a community. As per official reports, in spite of 80 per cent of population having access to safe drinking water, there are notable deficiencies in equitable distribution of water. Most of the time, power is redirected to nearby cities and metros and people of these regions have to compromise with small duration of power supply. There is little or no arrangement of garbage collection and one can easily locate piles of garbage around every corner of the town. And as far as sanitation goes, the least said the better. We all know for a fact that 70% of India still eases outside in the open. What is shocking is that even after such sad state of affair, by the end of 2009, only 57 per cent of committed amount, under the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), was released and only 80 projects out of 752 were completed!!

But then, there are a few towns and cities that have been able to create developmental milestones for themselves. Talking about the two cities viz. Ahmedabad and Surat - which have completed more than 100 development schemes each under Town Planning Scheme (TPS). Over 10,000 houses, in the last five years, had been built by the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority for urban poor under TPS. Likewise, Surat has developed similar amount of houses and constructed over 600 km of roads under JNNURM projects in TPS areas. As per recent media reports, the state government of Gujarat decided to clear 10 long-pending town planning schemes. Beside these, even relatively new towns like NOIDA in UP, Rajarhat in WB, Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra are changing their developmental landscape through proper TPS. All that is needed is, replication of similar successful models across the nation and that too with jet speed. It not only provides a natural impetus for the towns to grow on their own, but also relieves the pressure on the metros. With these towns having such a large population base, and an inherent market in itself, it is almost an urgent imperative to completely overhaul roads, water supply, power, telecommunication, mass transportation and other civic infrastructure. If not for anything, it at least makes economic sense because that’s how business would flourish and then the rest would be taken care of. Apart from everything else, development is an imperative in towns for the inhabitant’s sake, lest we forget that despite such adversities, they still contribute to 55 per cent of nation’s GDP!!


1 comment:

  1. Here is how, Dignity can be brought into Indian towns:

    PM-Indians integrated like never before

    There has to be some reward for dignity:

    Indian PM creates a reward committee with annual budget allocation of Rs.10000 crore to monitor, detect & disperse nationwide performance based appraisal of Indian Citizens 52-weeks round the clock every year.