Megacities Stagger India

Out-of-control urbanization threatens to drag down Indian economy for years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2009 8:02 AM CDT
A view of Dharavi, Asia's largest slum, in Mumbai, India.   (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
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(Newser) – The explosive growth of India's cities is threatening to drag down the country's economy for decades to come, economists tell the Wall Street Journal. The global trend toward urbanization has gone into overdrive in India, but most cities aren't prepared to deal with the influx of migrants from the countryside, resulting in gridlock, decay, and ever-expanding slums.

Politicians have made infrastructure investment a campaign promise, but developers and dysfunctional governments often thwart plans even when funding exists. In Lucknow—where the population grows by 150,000 a year but no new sewage infrastructure projects have been completed in 6 decades—officials fear the city may become as synonymous with poverty and decay as Calcutta was decades ago. "Planning has totally failed here," says an urban-studies professor.
(Read more Mumbai stories.)