Saturday, February 27, 2021

Unplanned Urbanization: A threat for society

By Lalit Garg

Controlling the growing pollution and destruction of nature should be our priority while focusing on the later conditions of Corona. For this, we will have to stop the increasing urbanization and emphasize the village-based lifestyle. Even though urbanization is considered an indicator of economic and social growth. But uncontrolled urbanization is becoming a major problem. In India, urbanization has created many problems; ordinary life is becoming complicated not only in terms of health but also in terms of life values. Economic growth is also becoming unbalanced for this reason. In such a situation, during the unprecedented crisis like Corona, cities filled with disorganized lifestyles suddenly started frightening, and then our villages sheltered the urban people. Therefore, such schemes must be made so that cities like facilities can be available in the villages so that the pace of migration from rural areas to cities for education, health, and employment can be halted.

Unplanned urbanization is the root cause of damage to the environment and nature. This trend has increased throughout the country during the last two decades. People cut illegal colonies on the fields bordering Delhi and similar metro cities. Subsequently, wherever the roads were built, the surrounding fields, forests, ponds were legitimately or illegally converted into concrete forests. Most emerging cities of the country are now growing randomly on both sides of the roads. In fact, under the map steps which we started for the development of independent India, big cities became capital-centric and these cities also became sources of employment. Due to the continuous and rapid development and centralization of wealth in cities, their random development naturally happened in such a way that it became connected with the existence and influence of political parties, but disconnected from the environment and nature. For this reason, village-based economies have started to falter.

Despite the increasing urbanization, a big truth is that even today seventy percent of the population lives in villages. That is, even if urbanization is considered a measure of development, then we are still far behind in most countries of the world. However, no matter how far behind, as much as problematic urbanization is happening, it has forced us to think critically. Especially when, due to the current desire for urbanization, it is estimated that by 2050 the country’s urban population will be more than the population of villages.

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri recently said that 40 percent of India’s population is expected to be in urban areas by 2030 and we will have to create six to eight hundred million square meters of urban space for this. According to Puri, around 4,700 projects worth Rs 1, 66,000 crores have been taken up in 100 smart cities, which is about 81 percent of the total proposed projects. A major challenge facing the government is to employ increasing urbanization. The greater population in cities means that their infrastructure needs to be built on a war footing so that they will be able to bear the burden of increased population and also remain liveable. But the reality is very different. All our policymakers and departments have the responsibility to build urban infrastructure keeping in mind the future needs, they work in the name of planning cities in an efficient manner.

 New urbanization is unplanned and arbitrary, where there are only concrete forests, then the entire structure in the old area is shabby and full of dirt. As a result, the definition of cities in our country is not complete without all kinds of pollution, dirt, air pollution, encroachment, crime, traffic jams, waterlogging, slums, uncontrolled construction, and mountains of garbage.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had brought the concept of Smart City in his very first term. But this plan also became a victim of corruption, money strait, and irregularity. The plan also became a cause of conflict between the central government and the states. Along with this, there is a problem that only by constructing flyovers, metros, etc., and our policy governors pats themselves on the back in the name of urbanization, but does it create a living situation in cities? Is increasing urbanization not becoming a serious threat to the environment and nature?

The economy of India is still a village, agriculture, animal husbandry based. Even today, the real India still lives in villages, in which about 70 percent of the country’s population lives. The reality is that since independence we have rejected healthy, advanced, and self-reliant lives in villages and towns. Instead of improving the villages and making them better, we have neglected them, due to which migration has increased. Our governments are ready to spend thousands of crores of rupees in the name of urbanization, but even in the name of basic amenities in the villages, they get hurt.

 Government policies regarding villages have been inconsistent. Farming was described as a loss deal and the agrarian economy was transformed into a system of disquiet. Instead of making agriculture a profitable deal and investing in the village economy, the entire focus was on drawing the population of the villages to the cities.

The reality related to the neglect of villages is that despite the large population living there, there is no supply of drinking water, medical facilities are negligible. If we look at the per capita electricity consumption, the villages are far behind, but despite this, most of the power cuts are in rural areas. The education structure in the villages is still shabby. In the last seven decades, villages have been ignored for employment generation. Our governments have also been indifferent to the transportation problems of the villages.

Culture, humanity, and life in our country have developed on the banks of rivers and villages. For centuries, human life has flourished on the continuous stream of rivers and their banks. In the last few decades, such a stream of development has been found that the river stream has come among the population and settled where the stream of the population got the place. And that is why every year towns are becoming cities and cities are metros. The growing tendency of the city to migrate towards the glut of the city leaving its ancestral homes in the craving for better employment, modern populist facilities, and a bright future has resulted in the number of cities with a population of more than one lakh in the country to around 350 whereas in 1971 There were only 151 such cities. The same situation is in cities with a population of more than one million.

Metros are posing not only environmental pollution but also serious problems of social and cultural pollution. People are disconnected from their people, from human sensibilities, from their folk traditions and beliefs. Due to which we are getting away from the life sources of environment and nature conservation prevalent in tradition and culture, such reasons are constantly increasing, the growth of cities and metropolises, the continuous expansion of population-rich areas and the nature and its naturalness in its grip Comes are serious conditions. According to the capacity, needs, and qualifications of the human being, he should get the right to live with his social concerns in his native place i.e. in the villages, get the opportunity for development. If the paradigms of development are like this then the migration of people towards the city will stop. This will provide some relief to our earth. The dangers hovering over nature and the environment will only decrease.

(Lalit Garg is a Journalist, columnist, writer and member of Rajbhasa samiti, Ministry of Home Affairs. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at lalirgarg11@gmail.com)

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