Special Correspondent

Asked to rise up to the challenges of urbanisation

Raje underlines the need for a holistic

city infrastructure development

Lay emphasis on providing better urban services to citizens, says Urban Development Minister

JAIPUR: Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has called upon the local self government bodies of all small and big towns in the State to effectively mobilise all available funds to provide better civic services to the citizens and rise up to the challenges of urbanisation.

Inaugurating a two-day seminar on “Comprehensive development planning for cities in Rajasthan: Challenges and opportunities” here over the weekend, Ms. Raje exhorted the cities to develop all-embracing vision plans to enable the State government to extend support for their implementation.

Chairpersons of Urban Improvement Trusts (UIT) and representatives of municipalities and municipal councils of over 50 cities attended the seminar organised by the India Urban Space Foundation, a non-profit organisation, in collaboration with the State government and the Union Ministry of Urban Development.

Ms. Raje asked the urban bodies to set new benchmarks for delivery of public services and announced awards for the best UIT, municipality and municipal council of the State to be given on Independence Day this year.

The Chief Minister underlined the need for a holistic city infrastructure development and suggested that two cities out of Rajgarh, Ratangarh, Laxmangarh, Navalgarh, Fatehpur, Kuchaman, Mount Abu and Jaisalmer be picked up for holistic development on a pilot basis with specific focus on eco-tourism.

Ms. Raje pointed out that a reform introduced by the State government recently on guaranteed land titles was the first effort to address the issue of land titling in a comprehensive manner in the country. Minister of State for Urban Development Surendra Goyal, addressing the gathering, asked the elected representatives of local self bodies to lay emphasis on providing better urban services to citizens.

Union Urban Development Secretary M. Ramachandran called upon the cities to “look beyond the State and Central governments” for funding their urban infrastructure and focus on innovative instruments such as municipal bonds or public-private partnership initiatives.

Leading urban planners from India and Singapore deliberated on the challenges of town planning during technical sessions in the seminar. The sessions were devoted to the subjects such as city visions, interlinking of socio-economic and physical development, transportation planning, and institutional and financial challenges. Several big and small cities such as Udaipur, Bikaner, Bharatpur, Nawalgarh, Kota, Nimbaheda, Shahpura, Ratangarh and Sriganganagar were represented at the seminar.