by Gopa Samanta – full text here
Review of Urban Affairs, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol – XLIX No. 22, May 31, 2014
Spontaneous urbanisation through the transfer of capital from the agricultural sector to the commercial sector has given rise to a large number of census towns in West Bengal. These settlements are cases of denied urbanisation, where the territory takes an urban shape but infrastructure and services remain poor under rural local governments that lack resources. Some of these towns retain their census town status for decades, and basic services are neglected until they achieve urban status. Based on empirical research carried out in Singur, a census town in West Bengal, this paper looks at the nature of urbanisation in these towns and tries to trace the role of politics in controlling access to urban status. It also explores the complexity of governance in census towns and surrounding urban areas.
A chapter by Gopa Samanta in Challenges of urbanization in 21st Century. Vol. III: Planning and Governance (Eds. Markandey and Lonavath), New Delhi: Concept Publishing, 2013, pp. 360-977.
Full paper available here
By Anil Kumar Vaddiraju:
Urban governance under the 74th Amendment Act has been ignored in Karnataka. A study of Dharwad district shows that the Act is not implemented in letter and spirit and governance and planning is done through a small section in the deputy commissioner’s/collector’s office and has no links with the chief planning office in the zilla panchayat.
Economic & Political Weekly, Vol – XLVIII No. 02, January 12, 2013
De Bercegol, R & Gowda, S.
A paper presented at:
The Sixth Urban Research and Knowledge Symposium 2012 Cities of Tomorrow: Framing Future,
A Symposium organized by The World Bank in partnership with the City of Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 October 2012
Summary: This paper summarizes the major findings of a recent PhD thesis which analysed the new political and technical arrangements in small town governance in the aftermath of decentralisation reforms in India. Various research projects have dealt with these subjects in rural areas and large metropolises but little attention has been paid to the same issues in smaller urban settlements. By analyzing government reorganization, this report aims to present the institutional building of small municipalities in India. Based on empirical research in Uttar Pradesh, it will examine the incentives faced by local officials to ensure effective management of their towns. It will study the reorganization of powers and responsibilities between municipal institutions and traditional public actors in order to assess the impact of this transformation on access to municipal services within and between towns.
Download the full paper
Governed by panchayats, it is impossible for them to get infrastructure, services a municipality would have provided
C. Chandramouli, who led Census 2011 as the Registrar General of India, compares the urbanizing census towns to early versions of the unplanned sprawl in Gurgaon, near Delhi, and other rapidly growing satellite cities. “You have these huge fancy buildings, but no sewerage or garbage systems, and you have not changed the characteristics of that local (administrative) body,” he said.
Most experts agree that the panchayat is not the ideal governing body for areas beyond a certain size, with a diverse labour market and a healthy consumer economy.
“The panchayat itself possesses no institution for getting any real development work done,” said Pronab Sen, principal adviser to the Planning Commission. “That resides with the state government. Villages have some funds from the state, which they can use for cleaning, desilting, fixing tube wells, but when we are talking about places that have all the characteristics of an urban area, like census towns, then you get into trouble. All of that stuff is simply not within the competence of panchayat.”
Cordelia Jenkins, Makarand Gadgil and Shamsheer Yousaf for live mint, 7th October 2012
Full article here