BHUBANESWAR: How good a place is our city to stay? A latest survey puts it second from bottom on factors influencing quality of life among 21 Indian cities surveyed across 18 states. Experts here are divided over the findings.
The Annual Survey of India's City Systems 2014' conducted by Bangalore-based not-for-profit body Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship & Democracy, which released earlier this week, has placed Bhubaneswar at 20th position on the parameters such as of urban planning and design, political representation, transparency, accountability and participation. While Chandigarh is at the bottom, Kolkata occupied the top slot. Ironically, planning of Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar are considered near identical.
The survey has given the Indian cities a score between 2.5 (Chandigarh) and four (Kolkata) against a global benchmark of London's 9.6 and New York (9.3). Bhubaneswar has got an overall score of 2.6.
Among the various categories, Bhubaneswar scored 2.5 in urban planning and designing (rank sixth), 1.6 in urban capacities and resources (rank 18th), 3.3 in legitimate political representations (rank 19th), 2.9 in transparency, accountability and participation (rank 12th).
Sanjeeb Guru, chairman, Indian Institute of Architects, Odisha chapter, said, "There is no doubt we have lacunae in planning and implementation. Shortage of litigation-free land is a major challenge for the Odisha capital. We need to pull our socks to improve our score."
Piyush Rout, an urban management consultant, said the comparison of Indian cities with New York and London is unfair. "It is something similar to comparing potato with pumpkin; both may look similar in texture but their size, weight, taste are very different. Such studies can't fuel better urban planning," he said.
However, some of the issues highlighted such as low voting turnout, little opportunity of participation by citizens in municipal governance, capacity of officials involved in urban planning are a matter of concern, he said.