Loss for an individual was covered in our first part “Why political agendas never solve your problems”. In this part we will try to present a larger picture and try to explain how the lack of planners from planning process or appointing incompetent planners will affect you.
The harsh reality
Even after decades of introduction of Urban Planning, the work of planners is not given much importance especially in developing countries which need urban planners most. Opinion of planners is often ignored or neglected which have long-term impacts. In number of cases incompetent planners or a person with a completely different background is given a work of planner. If you are a planner than you would have already faced number of issues and further inefficient and poor plans will tarnish the reputation of planning profession which will further add to the prevailing lack of job opportunities. Aspiring students will not look forward to undertake this important course because of lack of jobs. Taking an example of India which has about 5000 town planners till date (as reported by Institute of Town Planners, a corporate body) we estimated the loss which citizens will incur because of lack of planners. Cities in Australia have to tackle forest fires, cities in USA need to tackle cyclones and hurricanes, fires etc. In case of Japan earthquakes are frequent and requires people to be well prepared.
Loss for Government and municipalities
Coming to the loss of those who are supposed to take care of all facilities i.e. government and municipality will see failure of various national and state level missions. Difficulty in implementation of various schemes and programmes. Some of them include Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, Solar Cities Programme, National Solar Mission, NUIS Scheme, ineffective/incomplete implementation of JNNURM or recently launched RURBAN Mission.
Effect on development and cost to country
Short term effects: There will be compromise in the quality of plans from the very beginning. There will be significant mismatch in the demand and supply of services like water supply, solid waste management, negative impact on health and educational facilities. In addition to this urban areas will witness severe traffic problems something which are cities are already struggling with and do not have any promising solution. This will result in serious deterioration of the productivity of the people who will hinder growth of cities. Development of slums will take place as the mismatch between the housing need and housing demand will vary significantly and either we will have shortage of houses or surplus in certain category both of which will lead to wastage of resources and cause burden on the existing resources of the city.
A larger perspective and aggregate loss
The recruitment of incompetent or unqualified planners will result in serious long-term irreversible effects and the cost will be paid by all the people related directly or indirectly. It is a matter of serious concern that even after 65 years of independence India has only 2582 master plans out of 7933 cities because of reasons like lack of qualified town planners in the State. Master Plan being a legal document takes long time to notify and hence mismatch between proposals and actual implementation continues which severely impacts the quality of life. Because of this our government and nation as a whole finds it difficult to provide basic facilities like clean drinking water, access to grid connection and electricity in number of places, basic health services etc for its citizens.
We acknowledge and appreciate that improvement is taking place in all the sectors because of hard work and contribution of everyone but the pace of improvement can be catalysed if qualified and competent persons are appointed for the concerned post. For example if quality of master plan is compromised than it means that life of millions of people is affected negatively for upto 20 years. Considering the significance of Master plan its quality cannot be compromised at any cost. The problem mentioned is just tip of the iceberg and can’t merely be explained in few words.
To list a few examples, National Capital of India – Delhi do not have its Master Plan from period 1982-2001 during which haphazard growth took place, subsequently Delhi still lacks sub zonal plans and those in place were prepared very late. Moreover, almost all metro cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai lacks data of actual development and existing land use plans. This makes impossible to have any data of real-time development and actual ground position prevailing in the city.
How does it affect you?
In this article we highlighted the problems and losses which will be faced by any country irrespective of its development status. The extent of loss will be somewhat different depending on the country but this problem is very stark for developing countries as most of the urbanisation is taking place in them. The burden on resources and the pressure of competing with other countries globally puts additional stress on them. Kindly give a thought to the problems which planners are trained to address but are finding it difficult to do because of the old/wrong policies and selection procedure. If you think that the information is incorrect/false/incomplete or lacks support and evidence than kindly spare few minutes to search about “Town Planning” or “Urban Planning” are read about their roles or contact us so that we can furnish you more details, facts and figures to give us an opportunity to clarify our stand. It’s a humble request to take action for a collective good.