A city for the people
- IPL spot-fixing case: Net widens, police watching 3 more players, other bookies
- IPL 2013: Imperious Brad Hodge powers Rajasthan Royals to qualifier
- Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan Singh slam BJP for disrupting Parliament, stalling bills
- IPL spot-fixing: 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief's son-in-law, say cops
- Jessica Lall case: Shayan Munshi to face perjury trial
Planning for India's urban areas needs to change drastically
What has been said about India, that it is a functioning anarchy, is most readily applicable to its cities. Questions continue to be raised about the difficulties of governing a perennially changing urban population — as mixed in ethnicity and religion as it is diverse in social status and economic class.
The heart of the problem lies in the city's burgeoning population. By 2025, the world expects 300 megacities, each with a population of 10 million or more. Using barely 2-3 per cent of the earth's surface, they will be responsible for more the 80 per cent of all carbon emissions. Of the five billion-strong urban population, a fifth is expected to be in Indian cities. While Tokyo, at 20 million, remains the largest city today, Mumbai is expected to climb from its present sixth to second place. Such desperate figures require both a realistic assessment of the city's natural capacity to accommodate, and a quantum leap in planning. Conventional relationships with the land and the concept of a house as an independent entity on a plot are archaic and wasteful. There has to be a serious rethink of what constitutes a home in the 21st century.
Continual migrations to cities like Delhi and Mumbai have effectively quashed any minor gains in infrastructure and housing. And yet almost 80 per cent of the population increase in both cities has been in slums and among low-income groups. As the Eleventh Five Year Plan staggers under the crushing weight of new statistics, the government pulls out old slogans — housing for all, slum-free city — with the hope that the rapid expansion of tenements will be replaced by a moderately aesthetic skyline of repetitive housing blocks.
But when the average value of a square foot of apartment space in Mumbai is tens of thousands of rupees, and the cost of the same square foot of land in South Delhi is Rs 1 lakh, how do such figures apply to migrant construction labourers, now permanent residents of each of these places? That over 70 per cent of buildings there are in slums is hardly a surprise. If the trend continues, then the informal component — read slums — of Delhi and Mumbai is expected to be 90 per cent by 2020. And with growing scarcity of water, electricity, living space and land, the urban divide will make people more miserly, more protective and hostile.
- Paddy shortfall blamed for mystery death of procurement officer
- 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief’s son-in-law: cops
- Net widens, police watching three more players, new set of bookies
- Suspected Islamists behead soldier on London street
- Malegaon 2006 case: NIA names four right wing terror suspects
- BJP invokes 'sarcasm, ridicule' against PM