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Q. Vulnerable condition of Indian cities: Indian cities and growing towns are more vulnerable to natural disasters. Discuss.
Jun 11, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

According to UN Habitat estimate by 2030 India will have 14 major clusters of cities accounting for 40% of its GDP. Similar other assessments also indicate that nearly 80% of economic production will be in urban areas by 2030. But Indian cities are extremely vulnerable to weather events and disasters, which were seen Chennai floods recently.

Vulnerable condition of Indian cities-

  • The 2015 Chennai flood claimed about 270 lives and inflicted an economic loss of more than Rs 15,000 crore. Such big loss also happened in Mumbai some years ago.
  • Poor land-use planning, drainage system, indiscriminate approvals of building plans in violation of environment and municipal bye-laws have made urban areas more vulnerable to floods.
  • Due to planning failures most of Indian cities spend their revenue merely to repair roads after the monsoon, it affected in creation new infrastructures.
  • As many as 38 cities are located in zones with seismic susceptibility in the government’s vulnerability atlas of India. Faulty building designs and in the absence of disaster-risk assessment in urban design made these cities more vulnerable to earthquakes.

Suggestions-

  • There is an urgent need of integrated plans to make cities and growing towns resilient to weather events and natural disasters.
  • An information system needs to be developed to inform administrators about all natural events like weather patterns, anomalies, flooding data and population impacts.
  • To strengthen cities from seasonal storms, there is need to develop more water harvesting facilities in the form of urban wetlands with connected drains. Suburban lakes have to be revived. A proper system needs to be built to transfer precious rain flows to the sea, ignoring water security for growing populations.
  • Building codes, environmental norms must be strictly implemented while constructing new infrastructures.

Conclusions-

India's cities have expanded vastly, similarly due to planning failure they became more vulnerable to natural disasters. The process of urbanising is ongoing one, hence it must be designed to withstand the natural events like flood, earthquake. India must put safety first and should take serious actions to face any natural events.


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