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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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