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Updated: March 6, 2014 23:37 IST

‘We woke up late to the cause of reviving cities, says Mohanty

V. Geetanath
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Chief Commissioner of Land Administration B.K. Mohanty (middle) inaugurating `Parishkaram’ call center on the Collectors office premises in Guntur on Wednesday by making the first call. Collector S. Suresh Kumar (right) and Joint Collector D. Muralidhar Reddy can also be seen -- T. Vijaya Kumar
THE HINDU
Chief Commissioner of Land Administration B.K. Mohanty (middle) inaugurating `Parishkaram’ call center on the Collectors office premises in Guntur on Wednesday by making the first call. Collector S. Suresh Kumar (right) and Joint Collector D. Muralidhar Reddy can also be seen -- T. Vijaya Kumar

Hyderabad was pitchforked into the global arena when Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty was the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) in the late 90s. The Harvard-MIT-educated officer tells V. Geetanath why development of cities is vital for the country’s growth

Cities are engines of growth and account for 62 per cent of India’s GDP, yet they are languishing because of policy failures, meagre financing and leadership deficit.

We woke up very late towards reinvigorating cities, while every country is developing its cities, because if urban finances are not generated, there will not be money for subsidising rural development.

Migration

To say people should not migrate to cities is wrong. The scope for employment in agriculture is limited, hence the services and manufacturing sectors have to take over. A city depends on migration, and diversity is its crux.

People go there to learn and work. If cities are stagnated, are the public responsible, or the government? Why can’t we accommodate migrants?

We have ignored public transportation.

High density development should be allowed along Transport Oriented Development (TOD) nodes, Metro Rail corridors, Outer Ring Road and MMTS.

Inclusive cities

In every layout, 10 per cent should be earmarked for the poor, and why can’t we think of smaller modern tenements instead of talking about prohibitive high property rates and big properties? MCH had introduced self-assessment of property tax and impact fee on building permissions.

We can use land as the source and help channelise growth. Cities constitute the agglomeration of economic growth needing massive investments, as they help in continuous knowledge exchange, resources of capital, skills and talent.

For the first time in 2005, the Centre had earmarked Rs. 1 lakh crore to channelise urban development, but it was not leveraged properly owing to lack of municipal reforms. We are doomed, if India does not develop its cities. China is urbanising left, right and centre.

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