Bihar is much behind in the race of urbanization. Even Uttar Pradesh is better off than Bihar. Uttar Pradesh has the advantage of satellite urbanization because the nearness of the capital Delhi. Mayawati with project such as Yamuna Expressway is encouraging urbanization along the expressways.
Bihar has two expressways- New Delhi to Kolkata and East West corridor- covering north and south. Bihar government could have encouraged 10-20 planned townships on these expressways. I am confident about its commercial viability. These townships would have come up with education hubs or university town with all sorts of educational institutes to cater to its rural hinterland. Additionally, the townships could have industrial clusters for specific industrial sector such as food processing.
The present boom in housing sector is concentrated in the capital Patna. Patna as such is overpopulated. Instead, Patna requires planned satellite townships such as Greater Noida, Noida and Ghaziabad or Indirapuram.
I was amazed to read a news report that talked about the preference of the present government for Nalanda and adjoining area for all development projects. It sarcastically called the move as ‘back to the older capital of the ancient Magadh’. The report might have a political bias against Nitish Kumar who comes from that region. But the successful implementation of the project of Nalanda International University and making it a world class one is good enough to Nitish’s credit, if it comes up fast and if it could attract the best educational foundation have one of their institutes there.
Nitish Kumar could think of creating a World Buddhist City between Nalanda and Bodhgaya where the people of the entire Buddhist countries can come for meditating or living. Many in these countries aspire to live in Buddha’s land in last days. This idea can be made viable by some great planner.
Urbanization is already going on for years, but it should not be just building a house in any nearby town. Urbanization must provide all facilities to make the quality of life better. And if the right products are provided in well conceived and designed townships, there will be no dearth of customers in Bihar to make it commercially viable.
Bihar must think of planned urbanization as an opportunity and an apolitical priority.
One must appreciate the role of planned urbanization in improving the overall economy of the region. Bihar must emulate townships as Noida in NCR or those coming up on Yamuna expressway between Noida and Agra. It has separate industrial and shopping areas with residential sectors. It has today all sorts of educational institutes and healthcare centres. Construction creates a lot of employment.
Every block in sector employs lot of unskilled persons such as vendors for household requirements, cleaning and security and the skilled ones employed in its parlours and boutiques as well as those working from street side.
Interestingly, Noida must be engaging and employing thousands of persons of Bihar origin as entrepreneurs, executives, workers, and students. Bihar must think of urbanization as a necessity and not live perpetually in its ancient system of living.
But it will be for Nitish Kumar to get the policy going.