Saturday, October 29, 2005

Infrastructure vs. Development in urban India

Milind Deora, Member of Parliament from Mumbai writes on IntentBlog:
"...cities like Mumbai and Bangalore are rapidly decaying. Their infrastructure can handle only so much, yet commercial and residential buildings (mostly hideous structures) and unplanned construction continue to change the landscape of these metros.

The Bombay High Court’s recent judgment on Mumbai’s mill lands has sparked off a serious debate on how Mumbai should be developed. On one hand, developers believe the ruling will raise the price of Mumbai’s real estate due to a fall in the supply of housing while activists and urban planners see it as an opportunity to better plan the city’s transformation into a world-class metro."
I agree that concentrating on developing urban spaces as densely as possible is a really bad idea. What is sorely needed simultaneously is a systematic plan for developing infrastructure like roads, power and water. Even now, most urban cities in India are struggling with providing these basic amenities.

New Delhi has benefitted a lot from developing outlying areas like Noida and Gurgaon - but Navi Mumbai, for example, has not seen that much success. Which is also due to the fact that although Navi Mumbai is well planned, public utilities are still not up to the mark. The government has to understand that there is only so much of development (construction) that can go on in one city, and providing means for more urban development outside has become a necessity.