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Urban India

Backgrounders

Globalising at any cost

By Darshini Mahadevia

Indian mega-cities are rushing to provide world-class infrastructure to welcome capital investment. But a close look at the budgets of Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore reveals that the investment in roads, flyovers and telecommunications for the few is at the cost of essential services like water, sanitation and public health for the many.

Cities are engines of growth. This commonly-used statement has become a slogan for urban policies in recent times. Added to the slogan is the fact that there is a need to develop a brand image for our cities. Terms like ‘brand image’ and ‘USP’ of cities have become common.

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Related Articles

»Inclusive mega-cities in globalising Asia By Darshini Mahadevia
Read More

»Consumption and urban India: The poor are only Peeping Toms By Arvind Rajagopal
Read More

»First cousins: The ties between rural and urban India By Rahul Srivastava
Read More

Analysis

Messing around with waste

By Poornima Chikarmane and Anjor Bhaskar

Messing around with waste

Solid waste management accounts for over 50% of overall municipal budgets and manpower, but municipal authorities collect only 50% of the waste and recycle a negligible 5%. Technology and privatisation are the solutions being proposed everywhere. But public-private partnerships are turning out to be more about using public money for private profit. Is integration of informal sector wastepickers into the management of domestic and commercial municipal waste the solution?

Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur, Ropar, Tiruvananthapuram, Erode, Allahabad, Ludhiana, Ranchi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Gurgaon have all been in the news for problems related to solid waste management.
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Related Articles

»Size matters By R B Bhagat
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»Big city, big share By Sama Khan
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»Urban territories, rural governance By Gopa Samanta
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Features

Urban tinder-box

By Anoo Bhuyan

Delhi, Dasratpuri-Naseerpur slum

On December 19, 90 homes were destroyed in a fire in Delhi’s Dasratpuri-Naseerpur slum. The paper and plastic these waste-pickers collect are a fire hazard in many slums, but the state refuses to give them a separate sorting space

“I was putting the children to bed. Suddenly we saw that a fire had broken out in our basti. We had maybe five minutes to gather the children and run to the gate,” says Anita, recounting her experience of the fire that broke out in her slum last week.

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Related Articles

»Trains instead of planes By Bholenath Vishwakarma
Read More

»Living on the periphery By Rashmi Singh and Kriti Budhiraja
Read More

»The law of the land is the law of the realtor By Javed Iqbal
Read More

Books & Reports

The voices of the mill workers of Mumbai

By Sanjay Iyer

 'One Hundred Years One Hundred Voices' is a strong and sprawling history of Mumbai's textile mill district and its 1.3 million people, now displaced by the consumer civilization.

I have a friend in Mumbai who lives on the 11 th floor of Lady Ratan Towers, a posh apartment block, on Dainik Shivner Marg, in what is optimistically being called Upper Worli these days. Almost directly below the eastern window is the dramatically transformed chunk of Phoenix Mills.

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Related Articles

»Dalhousie Square: Where the magnificent and the mundane meet By Madhumita Bose
Read More

»Financing urban housing a major challenge says UN-HABITAT
Read More

»Another interpreter of Indian maladies By Arshia Sattar
Read More

News

Govt plans satellite mapping to prevent new slums

India is going to map its slums, the objective being to collect foolproof data on notified and non-notified slums across the country to meet the target of a slum-free India in the next five years.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation will undertake satellite mapping of all slums in the country under the government’s slum-free cities initiative. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will collaborate on the project that will see Mumbai among the four metros to be mapped first.

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Related Articles

»India's urban poor need 40 mn houses, 500 health centres: ASSOCHAM report
Read More

»Kochi takes a holiday to tackle garbage
Read More

»India's slum population doubles since the 1980s
Read More

Cityscapes

New CRZ notification: One step forward, and two back?

By Kalpana Sharma

CRZ Notification

Even as the new CRZ notification grants fishing communities the right to redevelop the land on which they live, it lays open coastal lands for other forms of development which will adversely impact their livelihoods, says Kalpana Sharma

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh wants to introduce a River Regulation Zone to regulate activities on the banks of major rivers. “The manner in which the Yamuna riverbed has been devastated by constructions should be a wake-up call to all of us,” he stated at a meeting in New Delhi recently.

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Related Articles

»New Delhi: Apartheid city By Kalpana Sharma
Read More

»Why public toilets get clogged By Kalpana Sharma
Read More

»Conflicting interests: After FIFA and the Commonwealth Games By Kalpana Sharma
Read More

See the City from here

The school of life

By Amina Khatoon

 
School of Life
At the root of the growing poverty in Priya Manna Basti is the absence of quality education. Only 10% of the residents have finished secondary education, and only 5% are graduates. Around 50% of children of school-going age are out of school. Amina Khatoon points out the reasons for these shocking statistics in the third part of her series on urban poverty

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Related Articles

»Two quacks and one health centre By Amina Khatoon
Read More

»City of waste By Amina Khatoon
Read More

»The struggle for education: A chronicle of neglect By Amina Khatoon
Read More

Globalising at any cost

By Darshini Mahadevia

Indian mega-cities are rushing to provide world-class infrastructure to welcome capital investment. But a close look at the budgets of Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore reveals that the investment in roads, flyovers and telecommunications for the few is at the cost of essential services like water, sanitation and public health for the many

Read more...

Inclusive mega-cities in globalising Asia

By Darshini Mahadevia

Urban development that is geared to the needs of global capital displaces or excludes poorer segments of the population and leads to the social and spatial segmentation of the mega-city into citadels and ghettos. How can globalising mega-cities be made pro-poor and inclusive?

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Consumption and urban India: The poor are only Peeping Toms

By Arvind Rajagopal

The urban vision invoked by the media is of a consumption utopia. What impact does this portrayal of a shining urban India have on city-dwellers who live in slums or on the streets? Surely, by stimulating desires that cannot be fulfilled, marketers are contributing to a revolution of rising expectations?

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First cousins: The ties between rural and urban India

By Rahul Srivastava

At 27.8% of the total population, India's level of urbanisation remains quite low. But that's still 285 million urban citizens, a number that would constitute the fourth-largest nation in the world. To feed these ever-consuming cities electricity, water and natural resources, the habitats of rural India are becoming more and more depleted, forcing further migration into the cities

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Growing up: Levels of urbanisation

By Rahul Srivastava

States with the highest levels of urbanisation are also the states with the highest levels of water and food insecurity

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Middle India: Towns versus cities

By Rahul Srivastava

The big city has been glorified, the small town neglected. But with more than half the urban population of India living in small urban agglomerations, we would do well to shift the focus to smaller townships for a more balanced economic growth

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The informal sector and urban poverty

By Rahul Srivastava

The informal sector accounts for 66.7% of total employment in Delhi and 68% in Mumbai. Workers engaged in this urban informal sector form the bulk of the urban poor

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Cities as habitats: Survey of homes in urban India

By Rahul Srivastava

Only 15% of dwellings in urban slums have drinking water, toilet and electricity within their premises. A quick view of urban habitats

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Planning the past: History of India's urban Plans

By Rahul Srivastava

Despite several government policies, contemporary Indian cities remain civic nightmares

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Further Reading

  1. Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation
    http://urbanindia.nic.in/mud-final-site/index_final_flash.htm
     

  2. National Institute of Urban Affairs
    http://www.niua.org
     

  3. United Nations Human Settlements Program
    http://www.unhabitat.org/

  4. Frontline
    www.frontlineonnet.com

  5. The Hindu
    www.hinduonnet.com

 

 

 

Messing around with waste

By Poornima Chikarmane and Anjor Bhaskar

Solid waste management accounts for over 50% of overall municipal budgets and manpower, but municipal authorities collect only 50% of the waste and recycle a negligible 5%. Technology and privatisation are the solutions being proposed everywhere. But public-private partnerships are turning out to be more about using public money for private profit. Is integration of informal sector wastepickers into the management of domestic and commercial municipal waste the solution?

Read more...

Size matters

By R B Bhagat

Size clearly matters in the hierarchy of urban agglomerations. Most programmes including JNNURM are directed at the big cities. Basic civic services including electricity, sanitation and clean drinking water for the poor in small cities and towns are abysmal, and hardly better than rural areas. The widening gap in income levels between rural and urban areas cannot be bridged without developing small cities and towns

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Big city, big share

By Sama Khan

The well-planned development of small cities can help disperse rural migration and prevent overcrowding of the metropolitan centres. JNNURM funds can make much more of a difference in these smaller towns. But the bulk of the allocation under JNNURM goes to the three mega cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata

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Urban territories, rural governance

By Gopa Samanta

West Bengal has the highest number of census towns among all the Indian states -- with 528 villages reclassified as such in the last decade -- but only 127 urban local bodies. The slow process of municipalisation means that most census towns, especially those with fast-growing industry, mining and commercial enterprises, are urban areas governed by gram panchayats. Such urban territories can become unregulated free-for-alls, with low taxes but haphazard development and poor infrastructure and services

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Exclusionary cities: The exodus that wasn’t

By Amitabh Kundu

Yes, the urban population increased more in absolute terms during 2001-11 than rural population. But, no, this is not because distressed agricultural workers are pouring into cities. It’s because census activism has tripled the number of urban centres in Census 2011. In fact, exclusionary policies are discouraging the inflow of rural poor into the mega cities

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Slowdown in urban growth

By Debolina Kundu

Population growth in urban India has been decelerating over the last three decades, busting the myth of an urban explosion. Most cities with populations of 100,000-plus have recorded a significant decline in their population growth, more so the million-plus cities, suggesting that they have become less welcoming to migrants. Delhi and Chandigarh recorded less than half the growth rate of the '90s, and Mumbai district has reported a decline in absolute terms during 2001-11

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The invisible migrant

By Amita Bhide

The city is harsh terrain for the roughly 100 million circular migrants who move around the country in search of livelihoods. The territoriality of policy renders them invisible, denied access to essential services such as housing, subsidised foodgrain and bank accounts. Urban policy needs to be re-imagined to understand the realities of migrants

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The ‘other’ urban India

By Partha Mukhopadhyay

The most vibrant, people-driven process of urbanisation is occurring outside the large metropolises which dominate popular imagination. It is not directed by the state, as in Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar, nor developed by the private sector, as in Mundhra or Mithapur. It is the result of decisions about livelihood and residence made by thousands of individuals that coalesce to transform a ‘village’ into a census town

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Transition towns

By Kalpana Sharma

The 74th constitutional amendment has on paper devolved power to urban local bodies. But even a cursory look at small towns reveals that elected representatives have little knowledge of their powers or responsibilities, cannot read or frame budgets and fail to generate local resources for planned development. Many of these towns are still transitioning between large village and town, with even basic public services absent, particularly for the poor

Jhunjhunu, where mohalla samitis have worked well

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The making of a mini-city

By Marie-Helene Zerah

Market forces, collusion of interest and malpractice are all involved in the growth and ad hoc development of a village into a small industrial town and then into a satellite town of a global city. Nowhere is this more visible than in Dharuhera, 70 km from Delhi

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Mending what works

By Bharati Chaturvedi

Waste can be a tool to break poverty when used imaginatively. In Nainital, Haridwar, Nagpur and several other cities, public-private partnerships in solid waste management have displaced the invisible, informal-sector wastepickers and traders instead of nurturing and upgrading them

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Urban development in the 12th Plan: Who's in? Who's out

It seems likely that the 12th Plan will also incorporate the same old gendered assumptions that have effectively invisibilised women -- particularly working class women -- from urban policies in India, writes Kalyani Menon-Sen

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The ground beneath their feet: Housing rights and resettlement in Delhi

Kalyani Menon-Sen tells the story of resettlement of basti residents in Delhi, a story of grandiose rhetoric in policy documents and diminishing entitlements on the ground

resettlement in Delhi

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Decadal journeys: Debt and despair spur urban growth

Census 2011, which reports a higher growth of urban population than rural as millions give up farming, does not record footloose migration, which drives desperate people to search for work in multiple directions with no clear destination. This is a giant drama that we have not even begun to measure, says P Sainath

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The exodus from rural India

For the first time since 1921, India's urban population has increased more than the rural. In 1921, influenza left its fatal imprint on the enumeration. The 2011 Census speaks of another tragedy: the collapse of millions of livelihoods in agriculture and related occupations. And the ongoing, despair-driven exodus that this has sparked in the countryside, writes P Sainath

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Swept off the map

By Kalpana Sharma

A new book, based on a study of 2,577 households from Yamuna Pushta two years after they had been moved to Bawana in the outskirts of Delhi, documents the devastating impact of urban displacement. The study found that displacement significantly raised both unemployment and dropout rates from schools

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A tale of two cities

By Darryl D'Monte

It's London, not Shanghai, that we in India should be emulating. London is emerging as the world's foremost global city

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The high-rise hang-up

By Darryl D'Monte

By 2020, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region is estimated to have 28.5 million people, more than even Tokyo. By 2050, it may have as many as 40 million. Unfortunately, Mumbai's architects and urban planners are obsessed with building taller and faster, not with the footprint of cities, or open spaces and partnerships between classes and communities

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Turning mill land to mall land

By Darryl D'Monte

The Supreme Court's recent verdict on the sale of mill lands in Mumbai has implications for the future development of all cities in India, and the redevelopment of derelict industrial lands in other cities

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McKinsey's Mumbai

By Darryl D'Monte

What happens when top honchos of companies and international consulting firms decide how cities should be managed? You get thousands of crores in public funds spent to meet the needs of 125,000 of Mumbai's motorised elite

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Living and dead monuments

By Darryl D'Monte

Mumbai's Victoria Terminus has been declared a World Heritage Site, joining the ranks of the Taj Mahal and Ajanta/Ellora. But VT as a monument has over 3 million commuters passing through it every day. That is a great danger, for unless people are aware of the heritage in their midst, it is hard to preserve it

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Why Mumbai is choking

By Darryl D'Monte

Every progressive city has shown that improving public transport is the best way to clean up the air. Mumbai, on the other hand, is geared towards providing 55 flyovers, sea links and coastal highways to the 9% of the population that uses private vehicles. Surely these are examples of topsy-turvy priorities, says Darryl D'Monte

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Urban tinder-box

By Anoo Bhuyan

On December 19, 90 homes were destroyed in a fire in Delhi’s Dasratpuri-Naseerpur slum. The paper and plastic these waste-pickers collect are a fire hazard in many slums, but the state refuses to give them a separate sorting space

Delhi, Dasratpuri-Naseerpur slum

Read more...

Trains instead of planes

By Bholenath Vishwakarma

India is the fastest-growing aviation market in the world. But only 2% of people travel by air. High-speed rail networks for distances upto 600 km could cut emissions by 90%, while also being more efficient and affordable to the common man

Urban transport systems affordable to the common man

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Living on the periphery

By Rashmi Singh and Kriti Budhiraja

Six thousand migrants who have been living in Delhi’s Jai Hind Camp for the last 15 years are struggling to retain their dwellings, kiosks and livelihoods as waste-pickers as land sharks try to oust them to cash in on the spiralling value of land. This story of callous displacement is being played out all over urban India today

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The law of the land is the law of the realtor

By Javed Iqbal

The ongoing battle of the slumdwellers of Golibar, Mumbai, is not just a battle against big builders, but against a system that is loaded against them. It is a battle that is playing out in many different parts of the country

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The commercialisation and dehumanisation of the city

By Anosh Malekar

The Yamuna River is the site for spanking new stadia, sports villages, malls and multiplexes. Around 22 lakh people reside in the extended floodplains of east Delhi. Can this population withstand the new colonisation that is threatening to invade the floodplains? An interview with Dunu Roy of the Delhi-based Hazards Centre

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The role of cities in climate change

By Darryl D'Monte

The danger of treating climate change only as a man-made phenomenon that impacts nature's systems is that it posits the problem in some distant remoteness and absolves all of us of immediate responsibility. The facts tell us that three-quarters of the carbon dioxide in the world, which is the biggest greenhouse gas, is emitted by cities

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Dilli hamari bhi hai

By Madhu Gurung

There are over 100,000 homeless people living in Delhi. Only 7,000 of them can be accommodated at the capital's shelters for the homeless. Of the 19 shelters in the city, nine are operated by Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan

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Kolkata has the highest number of lung cancer cases worldwide

By Rashme Sehgal

Seventy per cent of Kolkata's citizens suffer some form of respiratory disease. Delhi is not far behind at 68%, reports a new study on air pollution by the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, West Bengal's department of environment and the Central Pollution Board, Delhi

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Bangalore's contract municipal cleaners battle for minimum wage

By Laxmi Murthy

Despite a Karnataka High Court order, that contract municipal cleaners in Bangalore be given the minimum wage of Rs 1,800 per month, corrupt contractors and Bangalore Mahanagara Palike officials continue to flout the laws

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`Squatters are the largest builders of housing in the world'

By Meena Menon

Journalist Robert Neuwirth quit his job to study squatter communities around the world and try and change people's perceptions about squatters. At present, he is in Mumbai where five to six million people live in slums

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Scrap-collectors fight for and win a new legitimacy

By Sheba Tejani

The scrap-collectors union of Pune in Maharashtra has given waste-collectors who scoured garbage bins and collected old newspapers and bottles a new respectability and access. The municipal corporation now issues identity cards to them and offers a limited health insurance plan, recognising their contribution to recycling waste in the city

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Dalhousie Square: Where the magnificent and the mundane meet

By Madhumita Bose

Soumitra Das’ White & Black, brilliantly photographed by Christopher Taylor, examines the makings of the great mercantile city that was Kolkata. It focuses on Dalhousie Square, juxtaposing the grand and the magnificent with the grime and squalor of everyday life in a crowded, bustling Indian city

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Financing urban housing a major challenge says UN-HABITAT

A new report by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme warns world governments of a worsening urban housing crisis if they cannot come up with the money to build 96,150 houses per day for an additional 2 billion city-dwellers by 2030

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Another interpreter of Indian maladies

By Arshia Sattar

Suketu Mehta's Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found picks up, historically, where V S Naipaul left off -- with the post-Babri Masjid riots and bomb blasts of 1993. Mehta follows the same trajectory of trying to understand the lumpenisation of a great and throbbing metropolis

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The voices of the mill workers of Mumbai

By Sanjay Iyer

'One Hundred Years One Hundred Voices' is a strong and sprawling history of Mumbai's textile mill district and its 1.3 million people, now displaced by the consumer civilisation

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UN-HABITAT report on global slums

The figures are startling: globally, one billion people now live in urban slums, claims a new report. This number is expected to double within the next 30 years, if no action is taken

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The great terrain robbery

By Rashme Arora

The root cause of urban slumming lies not in urban poverty but in urban greed, says the author of 'Slumming India', Gita Dewan Verma

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Govt plans satellite mapping to prevent new slums

India is going to map its slums, the objective being to collect foolproof data on notified and non-notified slums across the country to meet the target of a slum-free India in the next five years

Read more...

India's urban poor need 40 mn houses, 500 health centres: ASSOCHAM report

In a paper 'Housing and Health Facilities for Urban Poor', the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India estimates that a meagre investment of Rs 7 billion is required to provide basic living and health facilities to poor urban-dwellers

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Kochi takes a holiday to tackle garbage

In an unprecedented move, the Kerala High Court gives civic officials in the state's largest city an ultimatum on garbage clearance. However, a long-term solution to the city's waste problem continues to elude the municipal corporation

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India's slum population doubles since the 1980s

The number of urban slum-dwellers rose from 27.9 million in 1981 to 46.2 million in 1991 and 61.8 million in 2001, according to estimates by the Town and Country Planning Organisation

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Is the world geared to tackle urban problems?

Some time this year or the next humanity will officially cross the line from being a rural to an urban species, with more than 50% of the world's people living in cities. Are aid agencies and governments ready for the social and environmental implications, asks David Satterthwaite

http://www.hindu.com/

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New CRZ notification: One step forward, and two back?

Even as the new CRZ notification grants fishing communities the right to redevelop the land on which they live, it lays open coastal lands for other forms of development which will adversely impact their livelihoods, says Kalpana Sharma

Read more...

New Delhi: Apartheid city

By Kalpana Sharma

There are chilling parallels between the building of the ‘new’ Delhi by Edward Lutyens exactly 100 years ago and the construction of the global city today. Then as now, the men and women who actually built this increasingly segregated and fissured city have no place in it

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Why public toilets get clogged

The best-designed plans for the building and maintenance of public toilets in India seem to come undone. But the argument that the pay-per-use model popularised by Sulabh is the only workable one is superficial and unrealistic in a country where millions are denied their right to basic services like clean water and sanitation, says Kalpana Sharma

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Conflicting interests: After FIFA and the Commonwealth Games

The questions being asked in South Africa after the FIFA World Cup are similar to those raised in India before, during and after the Commonwealth Games. Who really benefits from these mega events? The people or only the contractors? Transparency International states that public works and construction are the most corrupt sector in the world, says Kalpana Sharma

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Public transport vs personalised transport

The JNNURM initiative, under which the central government funds a substantial part of the costs of city public transport systems, has begun to show some results. The most talked about examples are the Bus Rapid Transport System in Ahmedabad and the public-private partnership in Indore, writes Kalpana Sharma

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Did Mumbai learn nothing from 2005?

By Kalpana Sharma

Although the realisation that Mumbai’s mangroves have to be preserved has sunk in after the disastrous floods of 2005, nothing concrete has been done about it. Now there are plans to build a new airport that, environmentalists say, will result in an estimated 170 hectares of mangroves being destroyed. And the diversion of two rivers

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Motorised mayhem

By Kalpana Sharma

The growth rate of motorised vehicles in India, at 10%, is higher than growth in GDP. India’s National Urban Transport Policy professes to keep people rather than vehicles as its focus. Yet it is private motorised transport that gets all the attention in our metros, not public transport

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Fighting urban fires

By Kalpana Sharma

The urban poor do not worry about earthquakes or floods as much as they do about fires that frequently destroy their inflammable, densely-packed dwellings. In Mumbai, where half the population lives and works from slums, there is no disaster management plan, and only 1,503 fire hydrants out of 10,371 work

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A reprieve for Dharavi

Urban planners have proposed alternative approaches to Dharavi’s redevelopment, which would view Dharavi as a thriving and functioning urban settlement and not as a slum that needs to be flattened and rebuilt. The October assembly elections may just have given Dharavi the breathing space required to discuss these alternatives, writes Kalpana Sharma

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Promoting people's participation in urban governance

By Kalpana Sharma

The 73rd and 74th amendments were supposed to give citizens a direct say in decision-making. While this has begun to happen at the panchayat level, it has not happened with area sabhas in cities. The Nagar Raj Bill is one way to put in place a democratic, bottom-up system of governance for our urban areas

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Why our small towns are a mess

By Kalpana Sharma

Small towns can be developed as examples of sustainable urban development. Ensuring that a population of 100,000 gets adequate water, electricity and solid waste management systems is simpler than dealing with these problems in million-plus cities. Community participation is critical – but missing -- for better governance of our small towns

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Slumdogs and small towns

By Kalpana Sharma

Little is known or written about the 2,000 small and medium towns of India. The one characteristic that defines them all, says this report from towns such as Madhubani, Jhunjhunu and Sehore, is the absence of planning. Many of these towns do not even possess an accurate town map. And upto a quarter of their population lives in slums

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India's small towns - symbols of urban blight

By Kalpana Sharma

68% of India's urban population lives not in the metros but in towns with population of less than 100,000, many of which get water for a few minutes once a week or every alternate day. No one even talks about the appalling absence of infrastructure in these towns

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The medical emergency of the urban poor

By Kalpana Sharma

The Mumbai municipal corporation is reportedly considering a proposal to restrict use of public health facilities to those who can produce proof of residence. Such a precondition will automatically exclude the poorest, people living in illegal settlements, though recent data from NFHS-3 reveals that abysmal conditions in which the urban poor live have a direct impact on their health

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Why toilets matter

Open defecation in urban India is declining very slowly, with over 5 million people in Indian cities still defecating outside. Could this be because the urban middle class monopolises the existing basic services like water supply and sanitation and therefore does not impel change, asks Kalpana Sharma

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Two quacks and one health centre

By Amina Khatoon

Girls in densely-populated Priya Manna Basti, Howrah, are married off at 14 to 18 years of age. They begin childbearing immediately. There is no sexuality/health awareness conducted by the state in this Muslim settlement, with disastrous consequences

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City of waste

In Part 5 of the series on urban poverty in Priya Manna Basti, Kolkata, Amina Khatoon recounts the absence of the most basic civic amenities: around 20 families share one toilet; excreta and waste flow into open drains; 38% of women get no healthcare during pregnancy

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The struggle for education: A chronicle of neglect

By Amina Khatoon

This is the story of Priya Manna Basti’s struggle since 1931 to keep education alive by setting up community schools and libraries funded by 1-anna donations from households. It is a chronicle of state neglect

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The school of life

At the root of the growing poverty in Priya Manna Basti is the absence of quality education. Only 10% of the residents have finished secondary education, and only 5% are graduates. Around 50% of children of school-going age are out of school. Amina Khatoon points out the reasons for these shocking statistics in the third part of her series on urban poverty

Read more...

For 40,000 people, this is home

By Amina Khatoon

Twenty people to 100 square feet, 100 people to a single toilet, open drains, illegally “hooked” electricity, young men wrapped in plastic sheets sleeping out in the rain….Part 2 in our series on urban poverty in Priya Manna Basti, Howrah

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48 bigha zameen: The birth of Priya Manna Basti

In Part 1 of a series on urban poverty in a single settlement in Howrah, Amina Khatoon recounts the history of Priya Manna Basti, where she herself lives. Set up as a shantytown in the early-1900s to house migrant mill workers, little has changed a century later for the 40,000 poor Muslims who inhabit the basti

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