‘Corruption stalling infrastructure growth’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Corruption stalling infrastructure growth’

Corruption, especially in infrastructure projects, is not unique to this city, but here it does not deliver, said Peter van der Veer, a Dutch anthropologist, at a presentation in Fort on Tuesday that examined urban governance in Mumbai and Shanghai and attempted to explain why urbanisation has taken such different forms in these two post-colonial cities.

mumbai Updated: Oct 05, 2011 01:36 IST
HT Correspondent

Corruption, especially in infrastructure projects, is not unique to this city, but here it does not deliver, said Peter van der Veer, a Dutch anthropologist, at a presentation in Fort on Tuesday that examined urban governance in Mumbai and Shanghai and attempted to explain why urbanisation has taken such different forms in these two post-colonial cities.

In Mumbai, graft has yielded very little by way of infrastructure because there are too many conflicting interests; China’s functioning corruption has given Shanghai a wonderful subway system, great roads and a growing stock of housing because of the communist party’s near total control over economic activity.

“In the Netherlands also there is corruption, but its nature is different,” said van der Veer, director of the Department of Religious Diversity at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen in Germany, who is working on a five-year project studying the effect of urbanisation in mega-cities on the formation of people’s ethnic and religious identities.

In connection to this, he said that Mumbai is witnessing a rise in public religious expressions of various kinds, such as processions and the construction of shrines, because economic growth has created more inequality. Shanghai, in contrast, once had temples at every street corner but has lost almost all of them because of the communist credo to “destroy temples and build schools”, a sentiment widely shared by Chinese intellectuals.

Both cities have huge floating populations with precarious rights. In Mumbai these people live in slums, while in Shanghai, they have housing but can be evicted at any time.