Urban News

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

“Urban poor, most vulnerable to current climate variability”

Print PDF

The Hindu        16.12.2010

“Urban poor, most vulnerable to current climate variability”

Special Correspondent
Sustainable and resilient cities should be focus of urban development
— Photo: K. Ganesan.

INFORMATIVE:D.B. Raju (right), Executive Vice President, Larsen and Toubro, presenting a souvenir to Karumuttu T.Kannan, Chairman and Correspondent, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, in

MADURAI: An international conference here on Wednesday called for making the Indian cities “resilient” in the backdrop of climate change and taking care of the urban poor.

“The urban poor are the most vulnerable to current climate variability such as regular floods and water shortage. Sustainable and resilient cities should be the focus of urban development,” D.B. Raju, executive vice-president (special initiatives), Larsen and Toubro, Mumbai, said.

Setting the tone for a wider debate, he pointed out that cities could be viewed as hubs of intensive resource demand, environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Thiagarajar College of Engineering here, along with the Operational Research Society of India (ORSI), Madurai Chapter, is organising the three-day international conference on “Operational Research for Urban and Rural Development” from December 15 to 17. Also, the 43 {+r} {+d} annual convention of ORSI is taking place here.

Dr. Raju said that India is projected to witness a rapid demographic transition as its urban population rises from 300 million to over 700 million by the year 2050. By 2025, about 70 Indian cities are expected to have a population size of over one million.

“Mainstreaming climate resilience into urban development is essential because climate risk is one of the factors defining poverty levels, well-being, economic growth and development in an urban scenario,” he observed.

Making a fervent appeal for “climate resilient urban planning,” the L&T top official said that adequate focus had to be given to climate-sensitive sectors. “Low carbon development as an urban planning intervention has the potential to reduce energy utilisation. Green buildings entail promotion of energy /water efficiency and land sustainability,” he felt.

Dr. Raju expressed concern that Government investments for the development of infrastructure and provision of basic services had not been spatially balanced which led to high levels of inequity.

“Unplanned development in most of the fast growing urban centres of India has affected the urban poor whose access to drinking water, sanitation, education and basic health services is shrinking,” he pointed out.

Referring to the huge rise in the number of motor vehicles in India, he said that cities need to arrest their current pattern of transportation growth to bring down their Co2 emissions.

Calling for a balanced development, he suggested that urban and rural areas were only partners in progress but not competitors.

Karumuttu T. Kannan, chairman and correspondent, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, in his presidential address, said that operational research had a lot to do in public life also.

“We are living with constrained resources — be it water, electricity or pure air. Experts in operational research could come out with ideas to deal with changing situations,” Mr. Kannan said.

V. Abhaikumar, Principal, TCE; V. Mohan, president, ORSI-Madurai chapter; S.P. Nachiappan, secretary, and S. Krishnan, conference chairman, were among those who spoke.

The conference has participation of delegates from various countries, including Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Italy, UK, Taiwan, France and Canada.