'Bhubaneswar needs to plan future'
Jan 13, 2014
Source : The Times of India


BHUBANESWAR: The newly-elected body of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) will face new challenges and get facilities, associated with a million-plus city, as the population in state capital would cross 10 lakh in next few years. The civic body must carefully make plans and revise regulations, keeping these in mind, feel stakeholders.

Whenever the central government makes plans for urban areas, it follows different yardsticks for cities with different population size.

Cities having one lakh to 10 lakh population comes in one bracket while those having 10 lakh plus population are in a different group.

For example, the Centre provided 80% assistance to cities having less than one million population under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission while shares of urban local body (ULB) and the state government are 10% each.

The Centre gives 50% aid to those with more than one million but less than four million population under the scheme. State government's share is 20% and ULB's 30%. Similarly, the central government's proposal of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail is meant only for million-plus cities.

"Bhubaneswar is passing through a phase of transition, expanding by leaps and bounds and adding to its population substantially. Planning at this stage is critical as the city's future shape would depend on the transitional steps," said commissioner, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Sanjeeb Mishra.

Though there are multiple agencies for city planning, including Bhubaneswar Development Authority, commissionerate of police and public works department, the BMC being the elected body can take a proactive role to bring convergence and consensus among all of them to make the city planning better, he said.

"Planned growth of small towns would ease the pressure on metros, which are already bursting at the seams. The BMC should work in coordination with BDA to bring changes in building norms to ensure that there is bulk garbage treatment right at the apartments. Better garbage disposal and transport would be critical issues," said chairman, Indian Institute of Architects, Odisha chapter, Sanjeeb Guru.

Piyush Rout, an urban management consultant, said the current infrastructure such as roads and flyovers should be planned in such a way that there is space for future plans such as metro trains and BRT corridors.


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