The following piece appeared more than four years back but seems relevant even today without a word changed:
Friday 18 April 2008
By krsna Khandelwal – A veteran market analyst
It is bankruptcies of ideas of govt. and its advisers that they have not seen it fit to restrict the development of population clusters around metros of the country. It has not got any advantage from any angle. It was due to govt. keeping on investment directed towards these areas in spite of crying need of other regions which could have developed in a more organised manner for the same rupee of investment in infrastructure.
There are reports that Gurgaon is under tremendous pressure due to creaking infrastructure which never got ahead of the requirement, Delhi is virtually hell around fringes. So is the case with Mumbai Metro region which saw floods of menacing proportions and would have to live in fear at all times in future. Bangalore is suffering from the lack of road network and congestion. Chennai goes without water. Kolkata goes without amenities of every kind. Pune is reeling under commuting problems. Hyderabad is some what a better place but still lacks good quality mass-transportation. It is Ahmedabad only that has grown beautifully so far and has had all facilities growing in quality and availability with growth. It shall have a beautiful river front and efficient BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport System). It can boast of wide roads to take care of the traffic. Its ratio of cars and two-wheelers per 1000 population happens to be highest in the country.
If some balance is to be achieved , the govts. should now do every thing to restrict the growth of the metro cities. This can be done by imposing some tax on having businesses in metro region and by having some professional tax collected from the salaried class and from the professionals. I would have preferred to have a tax collected from every one staying in these regions but it may have politically non-palatable outcomes. The Shiv Sena has a movement directed against the North Indians flooding the streets in Mumbai. It is in fact in bad taste but also has at its back the need for having lesser number people in a limited space. Mumbai has become so very difficult to live in and to do work that no amount of infrastructural development can make it truly livable. So what the govt. does for its development at tremendous cost is becoming a self defeating exercise. In the end I may say that lure for the metros has to wane. The steel and cement in short supply are due to the demand for it from the metros without the equivalent benefit for the citizens. Let us see the light of the day and not keep development from reaching the hinterland and offer no comfort to the ones living in metros. The best of worlds is achievable only when the metros have population moving out in some proportion and other cities having greater attention of the govt. and greater share of expendable infrastructural rupee.