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Urban India

Mon25Jul2016

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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

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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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