Paradoxically, India’s biggest challenges offer greatest of opportunities . Apart from agriculture & rural sector, urban development and infrastructure sector provides the largest scale & scope for employment generation and socio-economic transformation.
While we debate on the approaches and priorities of urban development, this nation of more than 500 towns & cities with more than 1,00,000 residents, awaits swift organised action for creation of requisite infrastructure to provide liveable conditions, sustainable environment and basic services to its residents.
Never in its past has India ever witnessed transformation on such massive scale in its towns & cities. While demand for traditional urban infrastructure like housing, roads, water supply and other utilities , etc continues to grow, its the increasing demand for new, complex , higher order infrastructure like metro rail, airports, multimodal transit hubs, ports, etc that has multiplied opportunities for investment and employment.
One of the most ambitious projects in post independence era , creation of Amravati – new capital city for Andhra Pradesh located on banks of Krishana river, south of Vijayawada is turning out to be a saga of floundering dream.
More than ten times larger than Chandigarh, the last great city built in independent India, creation of Amravati should have been demonstration of India’s technical, economic and management capabilities in 21st century. However the enthusiasm & effort has progressed into creation of a monument, instead of a contemporary liveable city reflecting democratic values and civic aspirations of common people.
Spread over almost 35,000 hectares of fertile, irrigated land along banks of Krishna river, this mammoth enterprise is a classic example of misplaced priorities with focus more on creation of exotic visual imagery , monumental architectural forms at the expense of comprehensive understanding & planning of key socio-economic, environmental and physical needs of people and the place. Bereft of any relationship with its socio-cultural or environmental context and economic realities, plan for the new capital is a assortment of seductive visual impressions of synthetic architectural envelope.
Cities are not built in day, nor can they be planned in year. Regardless of noteworthy commitment and effort exhibited by concerned authorities, creation of Amravati so far has been a case of passion without purpose, and effort without vision. Unless addressed urgently, Amravati may soon become yet another misadventure and a medium for political glorification. With little relevance to the context and short on content, the fundamental issues of creating a vast green field city are just starting to emerge. History repeats itself , but unfortunately in India it does so with greater frequency.
One of India’s greatest artist, this reclusive painter created masterpieces of “modern” Indian paintings , away from the limelight and glory his contemporaries sought. Born in Nagpur, VS Gaitonde started his work in Mumbai and eventually settled in Delhi.
His unique , abstract , graceful works influenced by his affinity towards Buddhism, are powerful visual and spiritual statements exhibiting mystic, spiritual minimalist opulence .