Speakers at the national conference on 'Developing Urban Economies of Bihar' on Friday made a strong pitch for drawing best practices of successful growth models of developed states to formulate a strategic plan that would set the roadmap for the transition of a large chunk of rural population into the urban mainstream in the next 20 years.
Delivering his talk during the session on "How can Bihar improve the investment attractiveness of its cities and towns", Dr Mukund Das, director, CIMP, said: "Two important factors -population and space - would decide the future of urban development in the state. In order to account for problems related to these and find out specific expectations of investors, the government must do 'professional introspection' or figuring out what needs to be done."
"Once this is achieved, it should develop a strategic plan that not only accounts for factors of population and space but also aims to make it future ready for the next two decades.
A skill development plan will also be needed to meet the evolving manpower requirement of industrial parks and micro technology parks that will be developed in each urban agglomeration,"he said. Vanishree Herlekar, a consultant with ITDP, in her presentation, said that transit-oriented development (TOD) and urban land value capture strategies not only helped in creating the necessary infrastructure but also led to sustainable urban development.
Citing examples of Seoul and Bogota, she said transformation of slum-dominated cities into 'livable and lovable' urban centers was not a very long drawn out process as many of us would like to believe. While Aupam Kumar Suman, MD, BUIDCO, did some plain speaking on the need for bold decisions to take up basic infrastructure improvement in 55 cities, Prof Utpal Sharma, dean, CEPT University, said the state should take lessons from Gujarat to spearhead industryled growth and overcome land acquisition problems by adopting a land pooling model.
Satyajit Kumar Singh of Shakti Sudha called for identifying at least 10 cities where industrial clusters could be developed, separate policies for developing tourist, education and manufacturing hubs, transparent and area specific incentive policy to offset the impact of neighbouring states on industrial development of adjoining regions on the pattern of UP and strong single window clearance system. In another session, chaired by former chief secretary Naveen Kumar, speakers, including Vinod Tiwari, Manohar Bhojwani, S P Sinha of CII and O P Sah of BCC, pitched in for city region development for city clusters, integrated plan and design, need for reliable database, viable business models, metro and mono rail and multi-level parking for achieving desired results