Focus 2016: Our greying cities

Published Dec 27, 2015, 7:46 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 2:27 pm IST
Indian cities
 Indian cities

Our cities, some older than colonial era, are facing a collapse. Here, we look at a select few to see what they plan to do next year as smooth commutes to work and a liveable home remain distant dreams for the country’s millions...

India’s infrastructure needs are massive. Roads in cities and in the rest of the country are inadequate as one in three rural people lacks access to an all-weather road and only one in five national highways is a four-lane one, according to the data compiled by the World Bank. As the Chennai deluge this year highlighted, abnormal rainfall or heat waves leave our cities struggling to cope... given the abysmal state of our sewage systems and public health.


DELHI: The capital is still struggling to cope with its massive population and is spectacularly failing to provide basic amenities — water, power and sanitation.
Delhi’s infrastructure has grown leaps and bounds, thereby changing the demographics of the entire city, but residents still struggle to cope. The city has also been struggling with its image, given the lack of security for women.


No. of schools in Delhi

Pre-primary & primary    2,806
Middle                                  933
Secondary                            385
Senior Secondary             1,674
Total                                  5,798

Enrollment (In lakh)

Pre-primary & Primary    20.83
Middle                              11.16
Secondary                          6.52
Senior Secondary              5.62  
Total                                 44.13

BENGALURU: From the city it was until the early 1990s, Bengaluru has come a long way — in the wrong direction, like any other major Indian city. Of course, it has become one of the world’s, not just India’s, great tech cities, but only within    campuses of the multi-nationals. Once the “Garden City,” it’s now one of the most polluted — gridlocked at any hour.


Area under Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike:  841 km
Budget 2015-16:                                                         Rs 6728.98 crore
Property tax revenue:                                                  Rs 1,800 crore
Employees:                                                                   7,000
Number of zones:                                                        8 (Eight)
Roads:                                                                           19,000
Length of roads:                                                           11,500 km
Arterial and sub-arterial roads:                                 3,800 km
Roads identified for widening:                                   216
Proposed signal-free corridors:                                12
Road works, maintenance estimate:                          Rs 1,200 crore
Money spent for pothole filling:                                 Rs 300 crore
Money needed for resurfacing of roads in city:        Rs 3,000 crore
Proposed metal bridge:                                              1 (One)
Road maintenance period:                                         3 years
MUMBAI: With a human count of 18.3 million — it’s one of the most populated cities on the planet. And having this enormous population within a relatively tiny area of 604 sq km means Mumbaikars are forever getting in each other’s ways. This gives rise to an obsession with space. Finding an affordable roof over one’s head is a legendary concern in this megacity... the stuff of Bollywood lore.


  • Total household: 28 lakh (11.36 lakh stay in slums)
  • Homeless households: 15,274
  • 57% households live in one room
  • Average cost of a 269 sq. ft. house (at minimum ready reckoner rate) is 12 times the median annual income of Mumbaikars
  • Nearly 70 per cent of unsold homes are priced at about Rs 1 crore each.
  • With an average annual income of Rs 7.5 lakh, a Mumbai resident will take 13 years to pay for a house costing Rs 1 crore. He will take 27 years to pay for a unit costing Rs 2 crore.
  • Mumbai-based Lodha Developers has sold a triplex apartment at its super-luxury premises on Altamount Road, in South Mumbai for Rs 150 crore in the month of November. The deal makes for among the largest transacted in recent times.
  • Maharashtra plans to construct 3 lakh affordable homes in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Most of these houses will be in Mumbai city. w The BJP government’s plan to construct houses will be implemented between April 2016 and March 2017.

KOLKATA: With its ancient, basic civic infrastructure, the city is still struggling. But it has witnessed growth in terms of areas, connectivity and population because of cheap labour, quick transportation and a largely affordable healthcare system. And in has also become a better metropolis with improving infrastructure — from more drinking water to illumination on the streets, there has been an upward graph.

Metro transport system

Only running Metro line Noapara to Kavi Subhas
Length: 28 km | Stations: 24 | Under construction: 5 lines

East-West Metro: 16.54 km
Cost: Rs 8100 crores | Completion: 2019

Joka Esplanade Metro: 14.21 km
Cost: Rs 2,619.02 crores | Completion: 2020

New Garia-Airport Metro: 29.10 km
Cost: Rs 4,259.5 crores | Completion: 2020

Noapara-Dakshineswar: 6.2 km
Cost: Rs 227.53 crores | Completion: 2018

Noapara  Airport: 6.24 km
Cost: Rs 184.83 crores | Completion: 2019

First Metro rail project in India that will be constructed under a river

KOCHI: It’s aspiring to become the first metropolis of the southernmost state of India. A slew of big-ticket infrastructure projects in transport and logistics have helped it shake off that “sleepy little port town image”. And a boom in high-rise apartments and commercial complexes fuelled mainly by remittance income from NRI Keralites has  also helped in changing the profile of Kochi.

Water transport

  • Kerala water transport department operates services to Vypeen, Fort Kochi, Kakkanad and has proposed high speed boat service along Ernakulam-Vaikom and Kottayam Kumarakom routes
  • Rs 740 cr project funded by the German bank KFW
  • 78 high quality safe modern vessels to be procured at a cost of Rs 195 crore
  • KMRL’s aqua division will be the nodal agency of the project
  • Kochi Corporation to introduce two modern RO-RO vessels along Vypeen — Fort Kochi, the riskiest route.
  • Construction of the vessels progressing at Cochin Shipyard. Total project cost — Rs 7 crore

CHENNAI: Over four million residents of Chennai, which was once a flourishing port city, are literally struggling to stay afloat. And it doesn’t all have to do with the December deluge, which only battered an already crumbling infrastructure. In the last five years, city limits have been redrawn to include areas from neighbouring districts. The metropolis has failed to deliver basic amenities and newer areas have had no water supply schemes, no sewage disposal mechanisms and are built on water bodies. In the aftermath of the deluge, will be hard work for the “cultural capital” of the country to revive itself and recover some of that past glory.


Budget 2015-16:  Rs 8,245.41 crore  
Tamil Nadu is the seventh most populous state with a population of 7.21 crore (2011 census).

  • Hospitals with medical college ......... 44
  • Multi super-specialty hospital .......... 01
  • District HQ hospitals .......................... 31
  • Other hospital .................................... 239
  • PHCs .................................................... 1,750
  • Health sub-centres ............................ 8,706
  • Urban PHCs ......................................... 134
  • ESI hospitals ........................................ 8
  • Alternative medicine .......................... 4
  • Women and child ................................ 7
  • Dispensaries ........................................ 1,375
  • ESI ......................................................... 195

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad’s evolution as a modern city can be traced back to that massive IT revolution in the late 1990s. Development was earlier confined to certain core areas, which started expanding phenomenally. The city’s outskirts are now dotted with skyscrapers, IT parks, residential and commercial complexes and flyovers. The exponential growth has brought with it the modern problems of unplanned growth: Dense traffic crawling on inadequate roads and civic facilities stretched to the limit.

Hyderabad metro

Total length: 72 kilometers
Deadline: 2016-17 (Completion of all three phases and starting the complete services by 2017)
Total cost: Rs 14,132 crores (Entire project to be completed by June 2017)

Two stretches completed are:

  1. Nagole to Mettuguda: 8 km
  2. Miyapur to S.R. Nagar: 12 km

First phase from Nagole to Mettuguda delayed. Expected to start in the first quarter of 2016.
Driver-less train as communication-based train control System is being used.
Work started in 2012 and 62% have been completed. Foundations have been laid on 53 km.

— Compiled by Bureaux



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