Citizen Participation in Development Planning

Charminar, Hyderabad

At a time when morphology of Indian cities is changing at a fast pace and rapid urbanisation is witnessing increasing migration from rural to urban areas, metropolis such as Hyderabad are coming under greater pressure in providing basic services to its burgeoning population. It is leading to what urban planners call urban decay.

Though the city was initially designed to cater to five lakh population, it later rose to 40 lakh and currently hovers around 80 lakh. Likewise, the area has increased from 174 square kilometre to 744 square kilometre to 7,000 square kilometre currently.

These have brought enormous pressure on the government to deliver – provide basic services like good roads, drainages, smooth traffic flow, regular water supply etc. to its citizens, observed Karuna Gopal, president of Foundation for Futuristic Cities (FFC). Despite the various initiatives of the government like the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) citizens continue to suffer from bad roads, garbage dumping etc., she said.

To enable citizens to participate and come up with innovative strategies for developing the city and improve the quality of life, FFC has announced ‘Citizens for City’ contest. Anyone can draft a well-researched strategy from a list of 30 topics given on the foundation’s website, www.citizensforcity.org. It was formally launched by Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly Nadendla Manohar here on Tuesday. Commenting on the initiative, he said it would be in the society’s better interests if one utilises existing institutions rather than blame them for everything.

“Such initiatives will eventually lead to meaningful partnerships between government, private sector and citizens to make our city vibrant and performing,” Ms. Gopal said. It comes in the context of city development strategy for Greater Hyderabad – a requirement under JNNURM currently being developed by the GHMC.

The competition whose aim is to influence policy makers and town planners to incorporate citizen ideas into city development policy initiatives will lead to ‘City Strategy Awards’ being awarded to the top three winners.

October 15 is the last day for entering the contest while the deadline for submission is October 31.

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