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(ARCHIVE) VOL. XXII NO. 22, March 1-15, 2013
CUMTA should have a wider role
By Dr. K.R. Thooyavan

The Metropolitan concept that evolved over much of the twentieth century emerged from the industrial urban forms, concentrated core oriented production that, by agglomerating industry and employment in a single centre and packing the population around the centre and along radiating transport networks, provided a spatial solution to the problem of slow and expensive transport. The production and distribution of goods and an emphasis on radial movement to and from the urban core gave way to the rise of the service economy, with communication increasingly substituting for movement and movement occurring in all directions at all times of the day and week. By and large, in a metropolitan situation, now, there is a consequent need to constitute a unified metropolitan transport authority to ease the traffic situation, mostly for urban commuters.

Mega cities in low and high income countries have more in common with each other, irrespective of their locations. For example, consider Bangkok and Los Angeles, both territorially vast, amorphous, multicentre regions with their populations residing in locations upto 100 km from the city core.

In recent years, many researchers have found that simple classification of central city, suburbs, and metropolitan area is not feasible. Researchers see an emerging pattern of settlement taking the form of increasingly dispersed and decentralised centres of activity and residential settlements.

In the Indian context, the national definition for a metropolitan area means an area having a population of ten lakh or more, in one or more districts and consisting of two or more municipalities or panchayats or other contiguous area, specified by the Government by public notification to be a metropolitan area.

According to the Census of India definition of an urban agglomeration, it should be a continuous urban spread constituting a town and its adjoining urban growths or two or more physically contiguous towns together with adjoining outgrowths. Each of such outgrowths may not satisfy the minimum population limit to qualify it to be treated as an independent urban unit but may deserve to be clubbed with the principal town as part of an urban spread.

However, the definition of metropolitan areas adopted by the planners in several cities is of much larger areas, including villages, whether urban or otherwise, but which are at the periphery or are intervening in an urban agglomeration. There are 53 urban agglomerations in India as of 2011 with a population of one million or more, as against 35 in 2010.

If we look at urbanisation in India, Mumbai is the largest city; Delhi NCR is the largest urban agglomeration; Bangalore is now almost as big as Chennai; Jaipur has moved into the top 10 slot. Among the next set of big cities, Bangalore, with an UA population of 8,728,906 (8,499.399 excluding Hosur) is now bracketed with Chennai – 8,917,749 (8,696,010 excluding Kancheepuram). Hyderabad, which was marginally bigger than Bangalore in 2001, has now become the sixth largest city with a population of 7,749,334. Ahmadabad (6,352,254), and Pune (5,049,968) make up the other larger metros. Surat (4,585,367) continues to grow rapidly and has added over 1.7 million during the decade. Jaipur, with a population of 3,073,350, has pipped Kanpur for a spot in the top 10 slot.

Among the 53 cities listed as metropolitian cities, 13 are capital cities which have wider influence over the region beyond what is defined as the metropolitan area. The consequence of the influence deprives opportunities to the rural poor, resulting in income disparity, conversion of agricultural land for urban use, elimination of agricultural produce much needed by both the urban and rural population.

Based on the experience of Western countries and the nature of operations being carried out, there is a need to establish a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) for proper coordination and to streamline the activities among the agencies and to utilise the available infrastructure facilities and resources. To start with, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore should establish UMTAs.

Act 44 of 2010 provided for the establishment of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority for the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area. This was called the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (CUMTA). Its main functions include overseeing, coordinating, promoting and monitoring the implementation of various traffic and transportation measures, including promoting the cause of public mass passenger transport systems and regulating their operations, besides implementation of certain traffic and transportation infrastructure of special nature in the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area.

Tamil Nadu State's capital, Chennai, has got a wide influence and, consequent to that, Tiruvallur, Arakonam, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu have got to play a vital role in provision of housing and infrastructure for absorption of population migrating to Chennai and must strengthen the overlying agricultural area for production of agricultural produce and protect rural employment. The link of chain of Tiruvallur, Arakonam, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu to Chennai can well provide mass transportation of persons and produce (flower, food and vegetables) in the region. Therefore, CUMTA has got a wider role to play in the region to establish a balance between urban and rural areas, by establishing ring and radial routes connecting road and rail, including mass transit systems. – (Courtesy: Our Building and Construction.)

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In this Issue

The sad, sad state of Chepauk Palace
Will Metro moves threaten Ripon Building, VP Hall?
On the Bookshelves – Of war and wickets
CUMTA should have a wider role
He took up a host of public causes
The illustrious scientist who teamed with C.V. Raman
From R'puram Medical School to Stanley Medical College

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Madras Eye


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