Off late we all are seeing some activity taking shape for the development of Belgaum, after years of effort by our people to convince the State Government to pay much needed attention to the overall development of Belgaum has yielded some results. You all must be aware that Urban infrastructure in Belgaum is taking shape and we are in the initial stage of this urban revolution that is going to change the face of this city and region. The State government has been releasing funds for development and Mr.B S Yedurappa, the CM of Karnataka has assured 100 crores of funds for the Urban development of Belgaum.
We have exceeded a population of 700,000 which helps us to automatically qualify for JNNURM fund (Jawaharlal Nehru Nation Urban Renewal Mission) which is a central Government fund from Ministry of Urban Development. This fund helps cities like Belgaum to develop its urban infrastructure. We would be getting around 500-600 crores every year and the State Government would also give us 100 crores, plus the Corporation collects taxes. The state government through its other departments is also funding various projects for example the UGD project (Underground Drainage) which is estimated around 170 odd crores, so let’s say we would be getting around 800 crores for the city’s development. With Belgaum gaining the second capital status (unofficially) and a lot of investors interested to setup business activity here Belgaum has definitely gained a lot of importance in this region.
We have already received the first installment of 100 crores from the state Government and waiting for the Gazette notification of NURM funds to Belgaum. Before the first installment of 100 crores, we had received 18 crores special fund, and some fund was received for preparations of World Kannada Meet and the First Winter session. All these funds were used for repairing and re carpeting roads. It was our bad luck that the first installment of 100 crores was wastefully used for re-carpeting roads which were already re-carpeted or repaired. This valuable fund could have been used for other Urban infrastructure which the city is craving for and there has been a lot of public demand but the officers nor the local political system agreed to their demand.
Our local government Bodies (Corporation or Urban Development Authority, tourism) work in the age old fashion, we have a 100 year old Urban planning method and the work methodology is redundant and un-scientific. There is a limited role of public and NGOs in the decision making process.
Our urban design is outdated and there is no scope for newer objects of Urban infrastructure. An outdated land-use planning system, Age old transportation systems, improper & unscientific solid waste Management, Hardly any urban greening measures, No plan or sense of direction when its concerned to energy efficiency, No steps taken for disaster mitigation and absence of multi-party participatory processes.
This is an ideal time for us to participate in a multi-party participatory process because we feel this is an initial phase for the development activities to begin in Belgaum and “We” can together make the required change. When we thought of this opportunity we were considering a Conference or a simple get together of like people minded people from different walks of life who are passionate about Belgaum’s growth and development. We wanted an event of development and infrastructure for Belgaum. But then We realized that in the name of development most cities in India and elsewhere have had severe environmental irrevocable damages. We don’t want concrete Jungles with temperatures rising every year, Cities on the name of development have lost their green cover and are overly depending on the countryside regions for everything like power, food production, etc. re-engineering of these cities or Concrete Jungles is a humongous and a tedious task which will cost us millions of rupees and a social, political desire to make the changes.
If we want Belgaum to grow, it should grow systematically with the right components of Urban infrastructure and least environmental damages, Urban development which is sustainable in the longer run. If the whole process is well planned we wont have huge concrete jungles in the years to come, smaller and choked roads, higher amount of pollution, absence of green zones or lung zones.
This is the right time, and We all need to get together and participate in this event which will have key speakers talking on:
- Urban Planning
- Use of Greener and efficient energy
- Good and Bad practices in Developing Cities
- Modeling the complexity of the evolving city
- Integrated Infrastructures for Sustainable Cities
- Necessary infrastructure required for Industrial development of Belgaum.
- Sustainable water conservation systems.
Anybody interested could offer suggestions or if you are good enough on this subject you can be a speaker in the conference.
This event should help us at least to create a Blue print and put forward our demands and tell the state government about our actual needs for urban infrastructure and development in Belgaum. We don’t want just development but well planned and systematic development to make Belgaum a model eco city.
AAB will act as a facilitator for this conference and on-line media partner. All are requested to leave comments and same would be forwarded to the organizing committee of the conference.