“One should not live in a place which does not possess a temple”
- Avvaiyar (One of the famous Tamil poetess)
Here ‘Temple’ refers to sanctity and thus cleanliness of the surroundings, proper water supply, garden for recreation and peace of soul, and other valuable supplies that one needs to survive. This was one of the first quotes on town planning, but ironically, even in the 21st century, we lack the basic amenities required. Indian cities never look like a planned set up, even if it does in a small percentage, most of the people live outside the planned societies. The state is bound to prepare a master plan every 10-20 years, we wonder what happens to the plan.
The agencies responsible for the urban development in India are:
- Urban Development Authority
- Municipal Corporation
- State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation
- Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd
- Town and Country Planning Organisation
However, the functions of these organizations are not clearly defined and that leads to confusion and chaos, as their roles overlap each other. The 74th Constitutional Amendment provided more power to the local government bodies but the authorities are still limited over the planning of the city. Lack of basic congruency between the authorities like the urban planning and local bodies create hindrance in the execution of plans.
We see a lot of political conflicts limiting the actions that should have been taken much earlier. Here is an example:
Money Control quoted Union Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari in the report published on 28 Aug, 2017
“An outside agency should be hired to chalk out a development plan for Pune. Looking at the current pace of development of the city, a new vision was necessary. The Town Planning Department is a hopeless department… the department is good for nothing.”
Also, the planning process is outdated that does not include modern-day necessities like transport lines, water supply, and energy networks. The authorities are surely to be blamed and what further fuels up the situation is the biased support from the developers also. The whole maze of town planning is so corrupt that each responsible body is dependent on the other for destroying the fate of the city. The developer seeking support from the local political party would not dare to differ from the philosophy of a scattered and non-planned society. The type of planning the developer looks into is mostly to make the most out of the quick changes in the market. Over a well-planned scheme, he/she would prefer flexibility in making profits.
Social planning is the absolute necessity for the sustainable growth of the cities by delicately analyzing the effects of physical changes on the residents. And this would require a seamless coordination between all the authorities, planners/architects, and developers. We need a planning system that is completely rational and scientific. New planning processes that consider the local culture, social welfare and ease of accessibly as parameters of development should be developed.