Gobar Times
Open Forum

A city by you

imageEven as the drafts of the Government of India’s 12th Five-year Plan foresee shining, unprecedented growth for satellite towns – as many as six are slated to crop up between Delhi and Jaipur – what, we wondered, is the status of the existing ones? Take Gurgaon, for instance. With a projected population of 3.7 million by 2021, Gurgaon will have a water demand of 666 million litres per day (MLD) but it will be able to generate only 573 MLD. The amount of groundwater extracted here is more than thrice the amount of water replenished by rain, with the water table declining by 1.2 metres annually. Yes, the figures do not add up. The same goes for sewage networks, road infrastructure and energy efficiency. In fact, given the zero-performance report cards of new age town planning, GT decided to pass on the mantle to you. What if you became a town planner? Would you make your city more sustainable? Find out with this short quiz:

1. Your city is overshooting its expected water consumption. Yet it is producing more sewage than the treatment plants can handle. Do you:

  • Ask people to move away from the polluted river and provide housing with well-manicured environs where the groundwater supply can last at least till the riverside is re-developed
  • Direct the sewage towards production of biogas to fuel street lighting
  • Direct the sewage towards less developed areas

image2. The local resident welfare associations are demanding space for car parks in their respective residential areas. Will you:

  • Convert the parks into car parks
  • Build multi level car parks for the residential colonies
  • Consult and act with the RWAs to expand your city’s public transport networks

image3. You have a multi modal road transport system to channel the flow of commuters in your city. But a particular wooded area is getting in the way of the expansion. Do you:

  • Organise an expert committee to examine the tourism/recreation potential of the woodland, and work your transport system around its periphery
  • Organise an expert committee to explain the importance of public transport, and expand through the woods
  • Commercialise the sale of timber from the woods and set a long-term plan for the transport system expansion

image4. Technology and communications professionals approach you to build a 5-star office complex in your city, served by luxury service apartments for employees. Do you:

  • Relegate the least economically developed zone, the wetlands that digest sewage on the city outskirts, for the proposed development
  • Give the companies the option of redeveloping an unproductive complex in the city, provided that they incorporate energy-efficient building measures
  • Refuse to develop a tech hub, as there cannot be an ideally integrative model, and retain funds for more public infrastructure

image5. There is a large migrant workforce settled on a premium plot of land near the tech hub, since its construction. They are considered unsocial elements by the women who commute to the tech hub. Do you:

  • Set up a school and vocational college for the workers
  • Serve notice to the workers to evacuate the land, and develop a resort centre to host investors’ conventions to develop the area
  • Ensure that the workers are engaged in building a private school or hospital, and politely ask them to resettle

Add up the points to your answers as given below

1. a-3, b-5, c-1
2. a-1, b-3, c-5
3. a-5, b-3, c-1
4. a-1, b-5, c-3
5. a-5, b-3, c-1

20-25: India needs more town planners like you! You take into account the needs of your people, but your foresight for managing resources gives you a heads up over the challenges of development

10-20: Well, you may win yourself the next election but not necessarily the vote of the environment. The growing needs of your city are likely to push you to a resource crunch, and without sustainable back-ups, the people might find themselves more than a wee bit disgruntled 1-10: We’re sorry, but we are not recommending you to any committee of urban planners, but if you run your own city, we are definitely supporting the citizens in their protest rallies!

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A city by you