Thursday, July 29, 2010

Draft urban development policy dreams big | | | Indian Express

Draft urban development policy dreams big | | | Indian Express
Draft urban development policy dreams big

Express News Service First Published : 14 Nov 2009 08:18:49 AM ISTLast Updated : 14 Nov 2009 09:19:25 AM IST
BANGALORE: Complete with plans for a State Urbanisation Commission, the state version of the national urban renewal mission and an urban version of the state’s ‘bhoomi’ agriculture land records project— the Urban Development Policy draft released by the government on Friday makes for many grand urban dreams.
It came as no surprise that Urban Development Minister Suresh Kumar was quick to brush aside some of its prickly issues: that para statals like the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) shall be brought under the control of their respective urban local bodies (ULBs) or that urban development authorities (UDAs) like the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) shall cease to be for lack of constitutional validity.
“The main focus of the policy is the second and third-tier cities,” he said, even as references to these bodies and also those like the state slum clearance board stand out prominently in the draft.
The government had in December last constituted a committee under former chief secretary Dr A Ravindra to formulate an urban development policy in the context of decentralisation and the need to equip urban local bodies with administrative, financial and technical capacities to manage themselves.
Ravindra was assisted by Ashwin Mahesh from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore in the preparation of the draft policy.
Suresh Kumar said that the said policy shall see Karnataka take the lead in preparing for a time when India is projected to be home to the world’s largest urban population, in 2040. The policy will be taken before the state cabinet in January, he said.
The draft policy is now in the public domain. Besides eliciting suggestions and objections from all local bodies and the cross section of the general public in the state, the government will also seek suggestions from the urban development departments of other states, the Minister said.
The exercise seeking suggestions and objections shall run over the next one month — till December 15.
Water and land for thought
Minister Suresh Kumar’s statement on focus outside Bangalore apart, the draft urban development policy has ample reminders of some controversies. The privatisation of water supply for one.
● Separate urban arts/heritage commissions for Bangalore and Mysore and another for the entire state.
● Local bodies to chalk out individual economic development plans.
● KURM on the lines of JNNURM
● Review of various land use regulations for a new urban land policy such that the land acquisitions by KIABD too shall be in consultation with the municipal or planning authorities only.

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