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Let cities grow taller: Governor

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Building plans: Governor R.L. Bhatia inaugurates a seminar on spatial technologies in the city on Monday.
Building plans: Governor R.L. Bhatia inaugurates a seminar on spatial technologies in the city on Monday.

Special Correspondent

‘Vertical growth is the only solution to space crunch’

Thiruvananthapuram: Governor R.L. Bhatia said here on Monday that the urban land use pattern in Kerala necessitated a shift to vertical growth. Speaking after inaugurating a national seminar on Spatial Technologies for Land Use Planning, he said high-rise buildings that can accommodate more dwellings offered the only solution to the acute scarcity of land. “Multi storey buildings that can accommodate more families in less space should be preferred over sprawling houses that consume valuable space in an urban environment,” he said.

‘Social control’

Speakers at the function warned that allowing market forces to control the land use pattern would lead to disastrous consequences. They called for social control over precious land resources.

Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran, who presided over the function, warned that a market- based approach to land management would lead to unscientificexploitation of natural resources. He said land use mapping had emerged as a key input in planning for local-level development.

Unequal ownership

K.N. Harilal, member, State Planning Board, pointed out that the inequality in land ownership had increased in Kerala in the recent past. “The inequality is higher than in most other States. Allowing market forces to control the land use pattern will lead to unsustainable development and render a large number of people landless,” he said.

Highlighting the need for social control over land resources, he said leaving the field open to market fundamentalists would lead to concentration of land ownership. “Driven solely by profit motive, market forces will not bother about equitable distribution of land or environmental sustainability. That is why social control becomes important.”

Mr. Harilal said scientists had a crucial role in evolving workable projects for resource management. He stressed the need to make spatial technologies more accessible, cost-effective and user- friendly for planners and decision makers at various levels.

Land Use Commissioner P.K. Mohanty and deputy director R.Sanalkumar also spoke.

Technology’s role

The two- day seminar organised by the Kerala State Land Use Board will discuss the application of spatial technologies like remote sensing, global positioning system (GPS) and geographical information system (GIS) in land use planning, natural resources management, environmental monitoring and disaster management.

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