Staff Reporter

Union Secretary M. Ramachandran outlines requisites for sustainable progress

NEW DELHI: Land use proposals in the cities should be synergised with other plans for mobility, economic progress, heritage and conservation so that the urbanisation process could be inclusive and comprehensive, Union Urban Development Secretary M. Ramachandran has said.

“Cities are engines of social change, innovation and economic growth,” he noted, speaking at the First Habitat Summit, a three-day conference for discussing “Alternative Urban Futures for India”, on Thursday.

“Cities face safety and security challenges that call for greater cooperation among national, regional and local bodies as well as other stakeholders,” he added.

Inclusive local governance, collaborative and innovative structures in delivery of urban servicesinformed and engaged communities were some of the requisites for the safer and sustainable development of cities, Mr. Ramachandran said.

“The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission launched by the Union Government in 2005 envisages development of efficient and sustainable cities and provides for reform-linked financial assistance to 65 cities covered by the mission for creation of infrastructure,” he said, adding, “There is also a need to emphasise on the capacity-building of cities not covered by the JNNURM.”

Mr. Ramachandran emphasised the need to find alternative sources to fund urban development. Speaking of initiatives with regard to sustainable urban development, he observed: “The National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, which is a component of the Prime Minister’s action plan on climate change, will promote sustainability of habitats through improved energy efficiency in buildings, urban planning, improved management of solid and liquid waste, recycling, power generation and a model shift towards public transport and conservation.”

Urban design consultant for Naya Raipur Sudeshna Chatterjee said a lack of funds at the local level often prevented small cities from achieving their potential.