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Centre’s cure for congested cities: Build townships

india Updated: Jan 30, 2009 00:41 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
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The Centre has a solution to decongest the overcrowded cities. It would now concentrate on improving facilities of satellite townships near the mega cities.

The Central Planning Commission has given a go-ahead to the Centre’s plan and will soon unveil the plans.

This was highlighted at the inauguration of Municipalika-2009, a seminar on urban governance, at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Bandra.

M. Ramchandran, secretary, Urban Development, Government of India, said now the Centre would concentrate on townships to ease a city’s growing population.

“Along with the cities, we are also interested in developing these townships. We would soon allocate funds to them,” said Ramchandran.

There are seven mega cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Mumbai has many satellite townships such as Navi Mumbai and Mira Road-Bhayander built to decongest the city.

However, they continue to be plagued by inadequate facilities such as irregular water supply and poor sewage disposal facility.

Even transport facilities at these places are poor and people do not want to stay at these places.

Ramchandran regretted that the middle-class citizens were being deprived from affordable houses in a city like Mumbai. “Slums are mushrooming across the city and it is seen that 98 per cent of the poor have no housing facilities,” he added.

Mukesh Mathur, professor, National Institute of Urban Affairs, echoed the same views. “Currently, the cities have become overcrowded and it is necessary to shift the population. Measures such as affordable housing coupled with adequate water supply and sanitation with improved infrastructure facility is necessary,” he said.

He said that schemes like industrial belts and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are necessary in these times.

The seminar was attended by municipal commissioners from Mumbai, Surat and Ahmedabad.

Mumbai municipal chief Jairaj Phatak said the city got less funding compared to other developed cities of the world. “This creates a problem is offering services,” he said.