Monday, November 29, 1999

Need for satellite towns around tier I, II cities: Parekh

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Mumbai, June 16 (PTI) The country needs to improve infrastructure to manage urban growth by creating at least two dozen satellite cities around tier I and II cities, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh said. "Satellite cities have to be built as connected cities, which means having sophisticated transport networks like trans-harbour links, bridges and underground networks," Parekh said in the company''s annual report. He said significant changes in the country''s urban landscape can only become a reality if there is a strong will to simplify, streamline and de-politicise the process of land acquisition. The urban exodus has led to a proliferation of slums, inadequate water and sanitation facilities, clogged-up traffic and a lack of education and healthcare facilities, he said. Even though the cities are the heart of all economic activity, attract talent and provide life-changing opportunities to people in terms of innovation, ideas, knowledge and wealth creation, they are strained by the lack of physical infrastructure, he said. Parekh suggested there is a need for directly elected city managers who can function as the chief executive officers of a city. "The city CEO has to have a predefined tenure and targets and must be empowered. In India, the actual devolution of power from the state to the local body level has not happened, so city accountability continues to fall between two stools. Clearly this needs to change," he said.

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