Ghaziabad improves ‘ease of living’ ranking by 16 notches
Ghaziabad: Among 49 Indian cities with a population of more than a million, Ghaziabad has improved its ranking by 16 spots and emerged as the 30th best city in the Ease of Living Index 2020 (EoLI). The rankings were announced by the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs on Thursday.
Ghaziabad scored 54.31 EoLI points out of 100, while it scored 48.28 and secured 20th rank in ‘Municipal Performance Index’ (MPI) among the million-plus cities. The city ranked fourth in Uttar Pradesh after Lucknow, Varanasi and Kanpur, as per the EoLI.
Officials of the Ghaziabad municipal corporation said that the city had stood at 46th spot in EoLI 2019 and 33rd in terms of MPI.
“Our performance has improved this year. We have been able to do a lot of work in terms of solid waste management, cleanliness and improving the overall outlook of the city. We intend to improve on higher scale in the next competition. Our ranking was marginally below the three other cities of the state,” said MS Tanwar, municipal commissioner.
The MPI was launched as accompaniment to EoLI and it seeks to examine local government practice in municipalities across areas of services, finance, policy, technology and governance, the officials said.
In the EoLI, Ghaziabad lagged behind in parameters related to ‘health’ in which the city scored 47.11 below the national average of 50.32 and ranked 39, ‘recreation’ with score of 0.39 below the national average of 11.68 and ranked 47 and ‘environment’ with score of 32.86 below the national average of 45.41 and ranked at 44.
“The health-care facilities were scaled up in past one year during the pandemic. We got our first government testing laboratory and other equipment like ventilators and high flow nasal cannula. As a result, we were able to tackle Covid issues successfully,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer.
Officials of the Ghaziabad development authority said that more facilities and even new road projects will open up more vistas for recreational facilities.
“The proposal of an international cricket stadium is still pending, and it will open up more facilities once the project goes through. We have lesser facilities in areas like Raj Nagar Extension and Loni. We will scale them up. We already have 100-acre city forest and another 10-acre city forest and two parks on theme of botanical garden are proposed at Madhuban Bapudham. A recreational facility at Bunkar Mart, spread over an area of 50,000 square metres, will also get complete this year,” said Asheesh Shivpuri, authority’s chief architect and town planner.
He said that with commencement of proposed Regional Rapid Transit System project, besides opening up of Delhi-Meerut Expressway and Northern Peripheral Road, the city will see all-round development and more facilities in the next three years.
The officials of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said that the municipal corporation recently received Rs60 crore funds under the Fifteenth Finance Commission. “This entire fund is for air pollution abatement measures. The corporation is chalking out a plan to deal with the air pollution. This will be implemented before winter season this year and will bring a lot of improvement,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer of UPPCB.
Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist, said, “The rising pollution is a major concern for the city as levels have remained high across the country on many days in winter for past couple of years. More groundwork and effective enforcement is needed to tackle pollution.”
According to the Union urban development ministry, a total of 111 cities (62 cities with less than million population) participated in the exercise. The EoLI is an assessment tool that evaluates the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban development. It provides a comprehensive understanding of city based on quality of life, economic ability of a city, and its sustainability and resilience.
Overall, among Indian cities with a population of over a million, the ease of living is the highest in Bengaluru, while it is the lowest in Srinagar, according to the EoLI. In cities with population less than a million, Shimla was ranked the highest while Muzaffarpur in Bihar had the lowest score.