Lamenting the poor state of urban planning in India where 40 million people are living in unplanned areas in the capital itself, Urban Development minister Kamal Nath today said government was looking at Transit Oriented Development as an option.
"Just in Delhi, we have 40 million people living in unauthorised colonies. . . 40 million people. . .Over 1600 unauthorised colonies, that was the assessment as per a survey done in 2007. We are in 2012, I shudder to think if we were to do a survey now," he said.
"When the capital of India has 40 million people living in unplanned areas, forget about the unauthorised, completely unplanned. How do we deal with this legacy?" he asked.
The Urban Development minister was speaking at a conference organised by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
"We in India, have most restrictive FAR, which even by Asian standards is exceptionally low. This needs to be revised looking at the infrastructure and the location where it can be increased," he said.
"One of the possibilities being discussed is Transit orientated development, where we can have mixed use and higher and more intensive development. Invariably we are looking at transit-oriented development where there is a huge wide road, there is a metro in the middle, so that people can come in metros, go to work, have their entertainment and recreation and sit in the metros and go back home," he said.
Nath said that since the amount needed to develop urban infrastructure was huge, it was important to develop suitable public private partnership models.
He also said that there was need for states to focus on capacity building for urbanisation, starting from the municipal levels.
"We are now concluding the second phase of the Urban renewal mission, this will support PPP. Besides funding, the states will have to get their act together and ensure that there is adequate capacity building going down at the municipal level," Nath said.
"Sometimes the focus remains only on the large cities, on the four million plus five million plus cities. But we need to look at cities of two hundred thousand to four hundred thousand," he added.
Nath said that cities with two hundred thousand to four hundred thousand populations witnessed highest percentage growth in urbanisation.
He said India needs to learn from the rest of the world and sought the cooperation of Alderman David Wootton, the Lord Mayor of London, who was also present on the occasion.