Cramped cities, restive residents

Cramped cities, restive residents

The ratio of urban and rural populations to the country’s total headcount has begun to be noticed with more than academic interest even as the number of cities, their spread of land, density of residents as well as their personal transport vehicles are all rising at a rate never witnessed in the past. Bengalureans who used to be heard priding over many aspects of their metropolis and taking unalloyed delight in calling then Mysore (now Mysuru) as a mere village can now be heard conceding that their beloved urban space has not only been ruined beyond restoration to its old glorified image but also a slum with a jostling, overcrowding populace that has gone restive. City after city across the State is losing its old charm of life at a comfortable pace, unpolluted ambience and satisfied residents, Mysuru leading in the steady and unstoppable change, read decline in its past image moving in a one-way street as it were.

Thanks to the compulsions of daily life in cities, particularly those with density of residents far beyond optimum, cluttering both living spaces of the families and public spaces (roads, trading areas, parks, schools and so on), their respective civic bodies have become target of bitter remarks on count of their inability to keep the civic amenities and civil services in top gear, ignoring the callous nature of the residents for the most part.

Media glare on the plight of urbanites, which is their own creation, has sidelined the hardship of the rustics for long. People’s elected representatives in-charge of administration are alternatingly highlighting the various measures taken for alleviating the misery of both sections of the populace, leaving the situation without perceptible change for the better. The farming fraternity is currently hogging attention in public domain, thanks to (a) loan waiver, (b) cooking gas, (c) roads, (d) dwellings with financial assistance, (e) healthcare facilities and (f) some cash to meet contingencies. The case of urbanites is too complex to be described in words except remarking that the gap between their needs of daily life and effort to meet those needs, both quantitatively and qualitatively, is yawning at an unprecedented extent.

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In sum, the overall space for dwellings, roads, schools, hospitals, shopping centres, community halls, government offices, industrial estates and so on, not to forget slums in cities has unquestionably crossed the limit. Time is overdue for acting to limit the headcount of both urban spaces and the country. How to expedite action should engage every citizen, more than the administration.   

March 2, 2019

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