Human Cost of A Smart City

download (1)Not so long ago Udaipur was selected as one of the cities to be made into a Smart City under the ambitious plan taken up by the Government of India to make 100 cities across India sustainable and citizen friendly. As Udaipurites we all rejoiced hoping to see our city turn ‘SMART’ and ready to cater to its ever expanding population and boundaries.

Bhatta RoadUdaipur administration has since the announcement taken up ambitious plans within the budget they have got and to clear the bottlenecks to improve vehicular movement. The one recently taken up has been the one close to my residence i.e. 60ft Road bulldozed thru by demolishing homes and commercial establishments of people who ever since I remember have been there incidentally the newspaper say they have been squatting on the government land without permission !!

Leaving aside the issues relating to need of wider roads, illegal encroachments and adequate monetary compensation, what this demolition means in terms of loss of home and livelihood of people whose property have been demolished ? Can the compensation ever be adequate for the demolition of emotions, memories, relationship along with the tangible property?? What about the emotional / human cost of resettlement?? They may have been encroachers on public land but they had been there for decades now !!!

Why couldn’t the property from both sides of the road taken to widen the road?? Why the suffering only for the people living on one side??

RaddisonThen there is this curious case of encroachment by a famous Hotel that grabbed public land, constructed the hotel, earns the mollahs, losses in courts and now has the audacity to offer a different piece of land than the one encroached upon, so that its commercial activity is not hampered.

If this exchange happens for the hotel shouldn’t it then become a norm for all the other encroachers??

This article is based on newspaper reports and my personal opinion that can be refuted by sound logical legal argument and until then I am not willing to let my city become smart at the cost of its citizens !!

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