GANDHINAGAR: During discussions on urbanization and infrastructure at the recent Chintan Shibir, experts recommended developing satellite towns around large cities to manage urbanization in the state.
Participants also recommended that municipalities with a population of over 3 lakh be given the status of municipal corporations.
The expert group on urbanization and infrastructure development discussed four broad topics — environment management and quality of municipal services, financial and technical resources for operation and maintenance of urban infrastructure, strengthening the finances of urban self government bodies and introducing services that generate revenue for civic bodies.
The participants also noted encroachments and construction of houses around water bodies in urban areas of the state. On the problem of parking in urban areas, the group observed that despite the existence of a parking policy, there is a lack of coordination between civic bodies and the police. The group recommended that a committee be formed in each city for better coordination between the two entities.
On urban transport, the group said there is a need to set up an Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) for which legislation will be required. A fund corpus should be allotted by the state government to run this proposed authority.
On the need for financial self-sufficiency, the group suggested monetization of land assets in civic bodies to meet infrastructure expenses. The group also suggested that “Vibrant City Summits” be held to draw investment to cities in Gujarat.
The group recommended that the state government introduce a policy to move all activities outside cities that cause pollution or hinder the smooth flow of traffic.