Cities face sanitation challenge: President

President Pranab Mukherjee flanked by Governor ESL Narasihman and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at the valedictory function of the XI th World Metropolis Congress at HICC in Hyderaad on Thursday. Photo: PTI   | Photo Credit: PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said that sanitation is the first challenge for an urban administrator and a clean city is the first and foremost parameter of equity. Describing clean environment as the right of every citizen, he said “a city that merely dumps waste but not process it, is not a smart city.”

Addressing the valedictory of the XI Metropolis World Congress here, Mr. Mukherjee observed that most cities in the developing world were “unprepared”’ to face challenges of urbanisation and ensuring equity in providing basic infrastructure and amenities. “There is an urgent need to strengthen urban governance and local finances in order to meet current demands and challenges ahead of us,” he said.

Mr. Mukherjee described pollution as another huge challenge in cities and called for steps for prevention instead of mitigation. He also stressed the need for making green buildings and green zones an integral part of urban planning. To address the issues of mobility and transport, public transport should be encouraged, he said, while describing Hyderabad Metro as among the “best models” of public transport.

The Centre is designing a new mission mode programme to take up activities for 500 cities and private sector participation will also be encouraged. The government also proposes to launch the ‘Heritage City Development & Augmentation Yojna’ under which sustainable development of heritage centres will be taken up, he added.

He also pointed out that urban India faces a backlog in the provision of basic amenities and infrastructure with nine per cent not having access to safe drinking water and 12.6 per cent not having toilet facilities. According to the 2011 census, 377 million Indians comprising 31 per cent of the country’s population live in urban areas in comparison to 45 per cent in China, 54 per cent in Indonesia, 78 per cent in Mexico and 87 per cent in Brazil. 

Half of the world population living in urban areas meant ever rising challenges for administration on issues such as sanitation, pollution, mobility, civic amenities and public safety which need to be managed in an innovative manner, he said.

In his address, Telangana Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao said the government was trying to develop Hyderabad without disturbing the heritage structures on the lines of Istanbul. For cities, slums were curses which need to be addressed, he said adding, “We shall try for slum-free cities which are ugly part of our urban life”.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 4:22:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/cities-face-sanitation-challenge-president/article6485722.ece

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