Inclusive Urban Development Part-2

Category: Environment & Green Technology Published: Thursday, 20 October 2016
Selection and Excecution of projects
Urban planning projects can be categorized mainly in following  sections
  • Urban planning for integrated growth of existing cities
    • Infrastructural changes and additions in the interior part of city – for example improvement of inner roads, drainage and water supply systems,  introduction of new transport systems like train, metro, skybus, Development of open vacant area for rehabilitation of slums, construction of utility centers, gardens, playgrounds or other public amenities like health and education services, Enforcement of green initiatives and social harmony.
    • Expansion of city boundaries and/or development of neighboring villages  by strengthening easy and fast communication systems between city and villages
    • Improvement in City services by providing  electricity, water supply, transport and communication and waste disposal systems.
  • Planning of entirely new  urban centre or building complex at vacant location by converting land use pattern
  • Creating specific zones for development of industries and business centers near city
It is evident that each type of project will need  entirely different input parameters and would vary in scope widely as regards financial outlay, time period, technical complexity and utility value. As such, it is not possible to have common guidelines for design and implementation of these projects.  However, it is necessary to evaluate these project options for deciding priority ranking so that development can be phased out to match with the available financial assets. 
It is observed that ambitious development projects requiring large capital investment are undertaken under BOT scheme without considering the future continuous financial burden required to be  borne by corporation or citizens.  The vision of development after successful completion of the project  is a selling point of project proponents.  Detailed financial evaluation of project is generally shrouded in ambiguity. Project proponents submit the project feasibility report to banks for sanction of necessary financial loan.  This report contains the cost-benefit analysis of the project. There are legal assurance conditions for repayment  of capital loan which have to be honored by corporation or government.  Hence it is essential to have transparency , publicity and public consent to these conditions to avoid future disputes.

It is seen that in majority of cases these projects are awarded to big corporates or agencies collaborating with  foreign companies under the pretext of  quality assuarance and capability of capital investment. The use of imported machinery and technology is facilitated in this process with benefit to foreign suppliers. The project work also often carried out by these companies from  local contractors on subcontract basis stripping off the profit margin. Local expertise is overlooked and the employment of local people remains at the lowest cadre of data entry or labour. Application of foreign technology without its customisation to suit local conditions may give unsatisfactory results. The cost of such projects is highly inflated considering manhour costs applicable there. The project excecution control remains entirely in the hands of these outside parties.
It is possible to form separate development authority for corporation with powers to get  financial loan from banks and advisory panel of experts for project planning and execution and award the project to local contractors by splitting it into many small subunits. This will help in having full control of project with corporation and would generate business potential for local parties and employment to local  people.  Cooperative sugar, textile and dairy industries can be considered as role model  for such development work. Employment of local people in such projects will ensure active collaboration and participation of people.