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Planned growth, need of the hour

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BLUEPRINT FOR CITIES: Minister for Information and Urban Development Parithi Ilamvazhuthi (second right) discussing a point with the chairman of CII (Coimbatore Zone) Jayakumar Ramdass (right) at `ConNext 2007' organised by the confederation in the c ity on Friday. Others on the dais are secretary, urban development, R. Sellamuthu (second left) and CII vice-chairman K. Thangaraj. - Photo: K. Ananthan
BLUEPRINT FOR CITIES: Minister for Information and Urban Development Parithi Ilamvazhuthi (second right) discussing a point with the chairman of CII (Coimbatore Zone) Jayakumar Ramdass (right) at `ConNext 2007' organised by the confederation in the c ity on Friday. Others on the dais are secretary, urban development, R. Sellamuthu (second left) and CII vice-chairman K. Thangaraj. - Photo: K. Ananthan

Special Correspondent

`Every locality needs good network of roads, transport'

COIMBATORE: Townships should be planned with facilities that are adequate for the next 200 years. This is the kind of long-term vision with which urban development should take place, secretary in the department of urban development, R. Sellamuthu, said here on Friday.

Addressing `ConNext 2007', a conference on `Urban Planning and Construction for the Future' organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Coimbatore Zone, he said every locality needed a good network of roads and transport. Mr. Sellamuthu cautioned against vertical growth without the required infrastructure.

Minister for Information and Publicity and Urban Development and Town Planning Parithi Ilamvazhuthi inaugurated the conference.

Emphasis

Mr. Sellamuthu said every section, including the construction sector, should be involved for planned development, as the emphasis was more on good and adequate infrastructure. Otherwise, it would lead to fragmented development. Describing Coimbatore as a parallel city to Chennai, he said the focus should be on inclusive growth; one that took even the needs of the common man. "Otherwise, it will create a social divide. Integrated planning will help in social integration."

Pointing out the need for better amenities in growing cities, Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited regional manager Mathew Joseph said China spent 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product on infrastructure.

Rising income and more nucleus families led to exponential growth in urban areas. Mr. Joseph said house construction was on the rise owing to a paradigm shift. "Earlier, people were against mortgage for loans. The present generation was keen on acquiring property through loans on mortgage."

The middle class population in the country was expected to touch 580 million by 2010. Newer localities would demand more infrastructure. Over 700 malls of 50,000 sq.ft. space each were set to come up. The tourist inflow was also expected to touch eight million by that year.

The confederation's Coimbatore Zone infrastructure panel convenor S.K. Singha Roy said Coimbatore witnessed unprecedented boom in real estate. Five to six-lakh sq.ft. of construction was on every year.

Options

There were two options before Coimbatore: either to become a planned city such as Chandigarh or an unplanned one such as Mumbai. Therefore, the opportunities to development would also bring the challenge of providing adequate and quality infrastructure. A culture of best practices and benchmarking them should be brought about in the construction sector also.

Coimbatore zone chairman of the confederation Jayakumar Ramdass stressed the need for a Coimbatore Development Authority, on the lines of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority. It should focus on the infrastructure development of the region, timely implementation of projects and speedy removal of bottlenecks.

When information technology firms, major manufacturing industries and many small and medium enterprises open shop here, more people would come to Coimbatore seeking employment and this would bring immense pressure on the existing infrastructure. Added to these were the luxury hotels, retail outlets and entertainment centres that were set to come up.

Mr. Ramdass expressed happiness over the Government accepting the confederation's proposal to provide six lanes to Avanashi Road at Rs. 27 crore over a 16-km stretch. The allocation of Rs. 70 crore for development of roads in the knitwear industry town of Tirupur was another commendable initiative. Vice-chairman of the confederation K. Thangaraj said Coimbatore needed growth without pain, suggesting that development should include adequate infrastructure for the people.

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