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Aug 14, 2008

One More City Planning Organisation Opened

After local citizens’ groups such as Residents’ Awareness Association of Coimbatore, Siruthuli and Kural made efforts to involve people in city planning, a national-level non-Governmental organisation will open its Coimbatore chapter on Thursday to promote public participation in infrastructure planning and development. Initiative for Change Centre for Governance, headquartered in New Delhi, aims at helping communities effectively engage in and contribute to improving the environment they live in, says Co-ordinator of the centre S. Baskar.

As for local self-governance in terms of planning, the centre will act as a forum for collective thinking and action. It will also provide inputs to various stakeholders – from the civic body to the public – on issues concerning governance.Mr. Baskar says the Coimbatore centre will focus on mapping the civic infrastructure and identify the deficiencies across the city.It will help communities mobilise resources to carry out remedial measures wherever the local body is not able to meet their needs.


The other focus of the centre is to ensure that the resources provided under various Government schemes for development are put to optimum use.It will also assess the quality of life of the residents in Coimbatore and also the impact of various schemes of the Government and the local bodies on them.Involving the public in city development will be done through a campaign titled “Coimbatore, I Care”.This is on the lines the centre’s national-level drive: “India, I care”.The centre proposes to network with various Governmental and non-Governmental agencies that are involved in public service.


Interactive sessions will be organised among Government agencies, business sector and the civil society on issues of public importance.On specific efforts in Coimbatore city, Mr. Baskar says GIS (Geographical Information System) mapping of civic infrastructure and the one put up by civil society in all the 72 wards of the Coimbatore Corporation has been done.Civic infrastructure comprises parks, reserved sites, dispensaries and other public utility facilities created by the civic body.Hospitals and educational institutions are facilities provided by civil society, commonly called private organisations, he explains.


The GIS contains specific information on the status of roads in the city.It shows clearly the length and width of roads and also whether they had a tar-top.Other basic amenities such as drainage are also in the database. “We have even a ward infrastructure index that can be used to draw up a ward development plan. The index shows the current status of each ward in terms of development. The civic body can know which ward is in need of more schemes and funds,” says Mr. Baskar.


An urban infrastructure index shows what the city has and what it is in dire need of. An environment quality index shows the quality of drinking water and ground water and also the level of air and noise pollution. Mr. Baskar claims that the centre’s campaign will be relevant in the context of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission schemes that the Corporation is set to implement.

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