The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to create a State Capital Region (SCR) along the lines of the National Capital Region (NCR), connecting Lucknow and the neighbouring districts of central U.P., with the aim of enhancing the potential of the State capital for coordinated and balanced development.
The Urban Development and Planning Department has held multiple rounds of meetings with allied departments to brainstorm on the idea and is likely to submit its proposal to the government on Lucknow-SCR, which will cover the seven adjoining districts of Hardoi, Sitapur, Raebareli, Kanpur Nagar, Kanpur Dehat, Unnao and Barabanki.
At the recent Uttar Pradesh Regional Planning Conclave-2023, suggestions were also floated to create six development regions in the State — Agra, Meerut, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Bareilly and Jhansi, apart from the SCR — so that the adjoining districts also benefit from these fast-developing centres.
Department officials are tight-lipped about the modalities of the proposal, but U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in a recent meeting, directed officials to work on the formation of SCR, arguing that it will be useful from the point of view of coordinated development.
“The capital, Lucknow, is equipped with state-of-the-art urban facilities today. People from different cities want to come here and make it their permanent residence. Population pressure is also increasing in the surrounding districts, while complaints of unplanned development are being received. In this situation, the formation of SCR will be useful from the point of view of coordinated development,” Mr. Adityanath said, asking the Urban Development Department to prepare a blueprint for it.
The State government’s plan is aimed at negating the imbalanced growth and rapid population influx in the urban centres of Lucknow and Kanpur Nagar in central U.P., despite these two cities being smaller in area compared to many neighbouring districts.
Lucknow, with an area of 2,528 sq. km, has a population of 45,89,838 according to the 2011 Census, while adjoining Barabanki, spread over 4,402 sq. km, has a population of 32,60,699. Likewise, Kanpur Nagar, spread over 3,155 sq. km, houses 45,81,268 people, while neighbouring Kanpur Dehat, with an area of 3,021 sq. km, is home to 17,96,184 people. In the recent Global Investors’ Summit (GIS), of the total investment proposals worth ₹33.50 lakh crore received by U.P., Lucknow received 6.79% of the proposals, while the other seven districts together managed only 3.77%, highlighting the investors’ district-centric interest and the widening gap between the State capital and its adjoining districts.
Amid the U.P. government’s ambitious plan to make the State a one trillion dollar economy within five years, only a few districts have been attracting investment intents. This was also reflected in the GIS, as five of the 75 districts garnered more than 50% of total investment proposals. Hence the State plans to include backward areas in development and investor architecture.
In the 20-odd districts of eastern U.P., apart from the districts of Varanasi, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, and Gorakhpur, which is Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency, the rest of the districts could only attract less than 9% of investment proposals at the GIS. Gorakhpur alone received 5.93% and Varanasi 4.75%.