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Jharkhand makes big strides towards inclusive & sustainable urban development

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Jharkhand urban development

An early starter in industrialisation and urbanisation when the Tatas set up a steel plant in Jamshedpur in 1907, Jharkhand has come a long way since then. Post its separation from Bihar in the year 2000, the urbanisation process in the state is being driven by an inclusive and sustainable development policy to create the new Jharkhand of tomorrow, writes Reetika Bose of Elets News Network (ENN).

Steeped in rich history and a rich, diverse tribal culture, Mother nature has blessed Jharkhand with a bounty of natural resources and green ecology. However, since Jharkhand’s creation on November 15, 2000 the story of urbanisation in the state is one of changing fortunes of infrastructure development, economic growth and narrowing down of glaring gaps in social and human development.

The vision underpinning the urbanisation process in Jharkhand is the State government’s policy of delivering an accelerated, sustainable and inclusive development with the singular objective of empowering the people. As per the Jharkhand Vision and Action Plan, the State’s urban population “witnessed a growth of 32% between 2001 and 2011, aggregating to more than 7.9 million. By 2031, the urban population is expected to double to 13.85 million”. This rapid pace of urbanisation would require commensurate infrastructure development and the Government is committed to “develop sustainable cities on parameters of spatial, economic and social inclusion to provide an enhanced quality of life to its urban inhabitants”.

The edifice of urban infrastructure in Jharkhand is, therefore, being built upon a number of government interventions to provide access to quality basic services in urban areas to improve quality of life in cities and towns across the State, livelihood development through skilling of urban poor, universal access to education and health care, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, sustainable energy and enhanced transport connectivity, among others.

It is to this effect that the Government of Jharkhand has taken a number of steps ranging from rent control, public disclosure law, making provisions for rainwater harvesting and reuse of recycled water, smart city projects, etc, to enhance the quality of life in urban areas. Presence of big industrial houses, supportive government policies, reputed educational institutions, and most importantly, presence of skilled manpower are among the prime movers of urban development in the State.

Presence of big industrial houses, supportive government policies, reputed educational institutions, and most importantly, presence of skilled manpower are among the prime movers of urban development in the State.

Besides making concerted efforts by deploying considerable resources for citizen-centric urban development, Jharkhand receives support from several centrally-sponsored schemes, which aim to address the urban challenges, especially those related to urban transport management, drinking water supply, sewerage and drainage, solid waste management and provision of civic amenities.

Potable water supply schemes, sanitation and parks schemes are under progress in seven cities of Jharkhand under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), while Jharkhand Affordable Urban Housing Policy has been made effective from April 2016. The State is part of the ambitious “Namami Gange” project and out of the two towns of Jharkhand selected under it, the sewage treatment plant at Sahebganj is on the verge of completion.

Urban Development & Housing Department- Enabling Jharkhand’s Urban Transformation

In order to build modern cities with world-class facilities ranging from sustainable infrastructure, modern housing complexes, shopping malls, flyovers, and iconic buildings and institutions, the Urban Development & Housing Department of the State government has come up with several projects and policies to ensure a comprehensive urban development in the state.

Smart City Ranchi is an urbanisation project close to the heart of the department. Ranchi was selected as one of the 13 fast-track cities in 2016. The Urban Development and Housing Department incorporated the Ranchi Smart City Corporation Limited (RSCCL), a special purpose vehicle (SPV), the same year to execute Ranchi’s Smart City projects, which will include all world-class facilities to provide a high-quality life to the city’s residents. The department seeks to develop Ranchi as a knowledge hub for educational excellence along with an efficiently managed smart traffic and transportation system aided by information technology.

The department has taken a number of initiatives to provide civic amenities in urban areas for the deprived sections of the society through convergence of projects under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Mukhyamantri Sukanya Yojana, Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart Cities Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission.

The department extends its support to 45 urban local bodies in Jharkhand including six Municipal Corporations, 12 Nagar Parshad, 24 Nagar Panchayats and two Notified Area Committees with one municipality that covers the entire state and the adjoining areas and supervises them in executing development works across Jharkhand.

The department has taken a number of initiatives to provide civic amenities in urban areas for the deprived sections of the society through convergence of projects under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Mukhyamantri Sukanya Yojana, Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart Cities Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission.

Inclusive development is an important component of the policies implemented by the Urban Development & Housing Department. It assumes significance in cities like Ranchi, the administrative capital of Jharkhand—where as per the 2011 Census around 7.72 percent of the population resides in some 95 slum pockets—to address issues like adequate and affordable housing, redevelopment of slums and informal settlements in order to ensure good quality of life to all the citizens.

Solving Jharkhand’s Urban Challenges

Jharkhand has a rich mineral resource and industrial base, facilitating the State’s transformation into a major economic and commercial hub of the country. With a size comparable to Peru, which is the 40th largest country in the world, Jharkhand is witnessing a fast-paced urbanisation due to which it is facing several challenges that need to be tackled rather sooner than later. The challenges range from issue of land acquisition, which is slowing down the pace of industrial development, to the task of monitoring and supervising different agencies that provide services related to water supply, sewage disposal and sanitation, transportation, solid waste management, eradication of urban poverty and other municipal services.

Realising the importance of water and sanitation projects, the Department of Urban Development and Housing seeks to achieve a complete coverage. At present, around 16 urban water supply schemes are under execution and similar efforts are being put towards sewer and drainage.

Scaling up the Infrastructure

Infrastructure is the key to economic growth. It can create a deep impact on the state’s economy, contributing significantly to the development of a state. Focusing on that, Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company (JUIDCO), a statutory body, has been formed to look into the rapid infrastructural development of Jharkhand. Right from planning to its execution, JUIDCO controls and administers all the infrastructural projects related to urban planning, urban water supply schemes, development of public amenities like parks and urban greenery, transportation, solid waste management, building, etc.

In planning, execution and implementation of all the government projects like townships, roads, canals, bridges, reservoirs, sewage, drainage, sanitary, water, waste, gas is concerned, the main agenda of JUIDCO is to make the lives of residents easy and convenient. Any project of the Central government undertakings or municipal corporations is also undertaken by JUIDCO.

Sustainability – the Cornerstone of Urban development in Jharkhand

Jharkhand is betting big on sustainable and inclusive development. Constructing buildings that take care of not only functionality aspect but also ensure the general well-being of the environment and its occupants, the State government’s focus is on creating structures under one complex, with less movement and proper optimisation of resources reflecting the culture of Jharkhand.

Besides schools, colleges and hospitals, there are Greenfield projects like software technology parks and projects from the tourism and welfare department that are being developed in the state.

Moving Towards Smart Transportation

Just like its infrastructure, a city is incomplete without proper transportation, and to be more precise, smart transport. To make the lives of the citizens easy and hassle free, the Jharkhand government formed a company on 20th September, 2016, Jharkhand Urban Transport Corporation (JUTCOL) to develop an integrated public transport system. With already prevailing pressure on the traffic conditions in the state, the Jharkhand government has provided a solution in the form of JUTCOL to make transport easy, convenient and comforting.

With a range of operations, JUTCOL covers the entire transport sector, concerning both railways and roadways with some exciting commuting options like commuter rail, metro rail, light rail, monorail and automatic guided transit systems.

When it comes to public transport systems, JUTCOL controls the finances of the transport projects which include managing the finances of public transport schemes, revenue schemes from advertising fares or commercial use of available land or air space.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) – A Landmark Scheme to Ensure Housing for All

Another programme that is gaining momentum across the country is Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the urban flagship housing scheme of the Central government. Under this scheme, affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor with a target of building 20 million affordable houses by 31 March, 2022.

Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the Central government is providing several benefits to eligible beneficiaries in urban areas in the country. The government has earlier announced CLSS for MIG under which households having income less than Rs 18 lakh per annum would be provide interest subsidy on home loans taken in 2017 for a maximum tenure of 20 years.

Smart City Mission- The Turning Point for Jharkhand

The flagship initiative of Government of India, the ‘Smart City Mission is changing the scenario of urban development in the country. Ranchi is the only city in Jharkhand that figures among the 100 smart cities listed in the Smart City Mission of Government of India. The city is greenfield and ranks 5th, all thanks to the quick progress made by it among other smart cities of the country.

Ranchi is the only city in Jharkhand that figures among the 100 smart cities listed in the Smart City Mission of Government of India. The city is greenfield and ranks 5th, all thanks to the quick progress made by it among other smart cities.

Unlike other smart cities, Ranchi too will have access to adequate water supply, assured electricity, proper sanitation, efficient urban mobility, affordable houses for the urban poor, and a safe and secured environment for women and children in particular and also underlining the health and education sector.

RSCCL is the statutory body that regulates the smarty city project in Ranchi which involves proper planning, monitoring and execution of projects in every possible step. The executions of the projects are being undertaken through joint ventures and innovative financing models like public-private partnerships.

Jharkhand has successfully managed to implement the smart city projects across Ranchi.

However, several steps are also being taken for the socio-economic development that includes building new infrastructure to building new cities that will ensure a sustainable development and an overall progress of the state.

The Revolution that is Changing the State of Jharkhand

In the era of urbanisation, it is a challenge to make the cities in states, where the maximum number of population resides in rural areas, centres of growth and development. But going by the progressive initiatives taken by the Jharkhand government, the state is all set to become a vibrant, viable, habitable, inclusive and a sustainable destination in the near future. Thus, the state needs a sustainable urban economy that can use its rising population as an asset for long-term sustenance.

The state has proactively planned for meeting the requirements of transforming the urban areas by putting in place institutional structures as well as municipal infrastructure to efficiently deliver basic civic services to all citizens, especially the urban poor, through effective governance.

Keeping that in mind, the state has proactively planned for meeting the requirements of transforming the urban areas by putting in place the institutional structures as well as municipal infrastructure to efficiently deliver basic civic services to all citizens, especially the urban poor, through effective governance.

With all the government departments working in such an integrated way, the state of Jharkhand will soon become one of the smartest, cleanest and most developed states in the country.

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