Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Great Debate.... decide the best metro in India must end. Delhi wins hands down. Madras, Calcutta and Bombay, all British legacies can slug it out for second, thrid and fourth spots. The clinching arguments are in this article, in The Frontline and are reproduced below:

"The city's development plan has earmarked lands for gardens and playgrounds
within the city limits. These are being de-reserved at a phenomenal rate. As
Chief Minister, Sharad Pawar de-reserved 285 plots; Manohar Joshi 300 plots; and Narayan Rane, in his eight-month rule, de-reserved about 180 plots, one of which covered 660 acres (264 ha) in Mankhurd (an area that was severely affected by flooding with water rising to 12 feet). Vilasrao Deshmukh continued the trend. Sushilkumar Shinde de-reserved 67 plots. All these put together would perhaps amount to almost 50 per cent of the space for amenities. On paper, the
development plan's amenity spaces ratio is 0.2 acres per 1,000 population. Of
this, 82 per cent is taken over by slums so that the actual ratio is 0.03 acres
per 1,000 population. This is the lowest in the world. By Indian standards it
should be 4 acres per 1,000 population. If you take international standards it
is 12 to 14 acres per 1,000 population. The other metropolitan cities, Delhi,
Chennai and Kolkata, have a ratio of about 4 acres each."......

which means that Bombay gets the wooden spoon, leaving the great east coast cities, Calcutta and Madras to slug it out. My wish is that Madras become the second best city.

I would also recommend you to read this article in The Hindu Businessline about the need for open spaces. The following extract says it all:

Open spaces are therapeutic. All cities and towns need green spaces as much as
other amenities like hospitals, educational institutions, roads, and public
chowks, stated the court. "Health of the residents is directly related to the
ratio of built-up area and open area, inasmuch as in a congested area, the
occurrence of respiratory ailments is much more compared to the places where
there is sufficient balance maintained between the built-up area and the open
spaces. That is the reason these green and open spaces are called lungs of the

Also check out the following statistics from the same article:

The court cited a few global statistics to show where we stand, assuming we have at least standing space! "The ideal ratio recommended for the open spaces for
Mumbai is 4 acres per 1,000 persons. New York has 5.33 acres of open space per
1,000 persons, whereas London has 4.84 acres per 1,000 persons. On the contrary, when the study was conducted in the year 1970 the city of Mumbai had a shocking 0.03 acres of open space per 1,000 persons, whereas, today, the ratio would be 0.015 acres per 1,000 persons which should be approximately 540 times less than the minimum recommended."

I also love the judgement which is being referred to in the Businessline article. There are references to Aldous Huxley and Shakespeare.

So, whats my ideal city? It would be one having the infrastructure of Delhi, the weather of Bangalore and the life of Bombay. Let me just call it Ideal and sign off with my dad's words, "Ideal does not exist in the real world. Ideal is only in your mind."

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