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Mysore City to retain identity despite rapid urbanisation

Mysore City to retain identity despite rapid urbanisation
 
Mysore, UNI :

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/jan22007/update121740200712.asp

This royal city of South, widely sprinkled with heritage sites, has hit the fast track of urbanisation, altering the landscape that will in the coming years go beyond recognition unless steps are not in place to ensure that its rich heritage and culture is not buried.

Mysore is one among the 63 cities selected in the country by the Union Ministry of Urban Development for overall development under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renwal Mission (JNNURM).

The City of Palaces, which attract tourists from both domestic as well as abroad, covered 7,569 hectares in 1995 in terms of urbanisation, had grown by 22 per cent to encompass 9221 hectares in 2001 and the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) has projected the total area to be 15,669 hectares in another six years time.

Though the City is redefining itself with the surge of investors and large tracts of land allotted by the government to the corporate sector, especially the IT Companies, a road map has been drawn to chart its growth for the next 20 years without losing its original identity, unlike the developments that had submerged some of the prominent cities of the country. The City was expected to generate at least 40,000 new jobs during the next few years, which means its demographic profile is also set to alter, bringing in a dash of vibrancy and a touch of cosmopolitan culture, all of which were welcome sign.

Official sources said that CDP, approved by the Centre laid emphasis on principles, directions and reformation of the City, rather than specific projects that the City needs to develop.

It had been prepared after consulting citizens groups, elected representatives and government departments and agencies, the Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Ltd, (IDCK) an organisation emphanelled for the purpose of the JNNURM by the Ministry of Urban Development also providing its contribution.

The planners, while mapping the future growth of Mysore, have ensured that the City’s identity is not lost as was witnessed by the rapid urbanisation of other Cities in the country. It clearly spelt out ”what Mysore does not want to become”. It recognised the trade off between urbanisation and growth and the decline in quality of life and pointed out that too many cities have courted growth thrust on them by circumstances and have been unable to cope with the stress on infrastructure, society and culture.

The CDP, which was approved by the Centre, aimed to protect the City’s cultural identity and its heritage and drawn up a blueprint which might help retain the characteristic features of the City of Palaces. The CDP had acknowledged that’ despite the modern day approach to urban planing and civic architecture, the City continued to retain its special characteristics as a native princely City with imposing and majestic buildings like the Palace which has been built in the Indo saracenic style with traces of other architectural features from the east and the west. The conservation of Mysore’s heritage received priority under the JNNURM and many buildings reflect Indo saracenic, Hindu, Greco Roman, Gothic and the European classical styles of architecture.

The CDP aimed to take up a comprehensive plan of action to conserve the heritage property in the core area falling within two km radius of the Mysore Palace of the Wadiyars. A systematic study is being undertaken to improve the pathways, while beautification and landscaping of heritage property was also in the offing under the JNNURM, in all 44 buildings would be taken up for conservation during the period of 2007-2012.

Unplanned growth had impacted the quality of life leading to congestion in some of the Cities whose character had changed.

Flyovers or elevated roads that detract from the City’s heritage and urban sprawl resulting in unplanned industrialisation have placed great stress on the urban environment and burdened the transport system, roads water and power and Mysore clearly does not want any one of these, according to CDP.

The key elements in the CDP have been categorised under broad categories of urban space, economy, heritage, governance and includes various aspects pertaining to each one of them like clean air, noise free environment, demarcated area for pedestrians and vehicles, promotion of neighbourhood and community ownership, adequate open spaces, provision of balanced economic options, cultural vibrancy, heritage tourism, sustainable economic growth based on non polluting, hi-tech industry and services.

Adequate thrust has been given to tourism as evident in the emphasis on preservation of historical and architectural structures as cultural vibrancy is the main sources of tourist attraction to Mysore. The CDP speaks of governance through decentralisation and people’s participation in a bid to usher in efficiency, transparency and accountability, adopting e-governance or other equivalent systems for efficient and sustainable delivery of services has also been indicated.

January 2, 2007 - Posted by | EKAVI HAVERI, MYSORE

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