Between 2001 and 2015, an average of 7 people died everyday in the collapse of structures, including buildings. Out of this 40% deaths have occurred due to the collapse of residential buildings. Out of the 6000 odd cases registered with NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), Uttar Pradesh accounts for the highest numbers at 5,690 followed by Maharashtra with 4,237 cases.
Now, look at the number of deaths. 2,434 people died due to the collapse of bridges, 7,972 died out of commercial building collapses, 888 died due to the collapse of dams, 30,298 people died due to the collapse of residential buildings. Mumbai as a city has 700 dilapidated buildings as per the data with the government.
I am plain curious. I found out that there are eminent schools of higher studies in India, to graduate in Town planning, Urban policy making, architecture and restoration of heritage structures.
I want to know, where do the graduates from these schools end up with. Where do these students disappear engaged in obscure roles, working for equally murky enterprises? Next, what is the importance we attach to the relevance of preserving heritage? Do we understand and agree that there are countries raking in huge money, by merely promoting the heritage as tourist attractions? What is the value of human life beyond exercising a vote, once after five years? Are we ending up only as the empirical evidence to the tall claims of politicians of showing the world, that the 130 crore Indians are the waiting to end in any bait that one can offer?
Much has been written, spoken, discussed and debated about the apathy and indifference of the political class to the inevitability of these collapses at frequent intervals. But there is something that we have to start accepting. The existing infrastructure of the towns and cities is bursting at the seams due to lack of farsightedness by the policy makers, misuse by the public and the absence of innovation in the execution of suitable substitutes. And very importantly, accepting the fact that convenience comes at a price. We must be ready to pay the price to avail the benefits of the Urban life.
I hope, someday we will start working towards ‘reverse-urbanization’. It will be possible, only when the entire country is connected by a central transit system and upon the establishment of a robust supply chain management for perishable goods and commodities. It will make the commodities and opportunities of livelihood available across the country at a near perfect, demand and supply adjusted price. Affordable healthcare, formal education and job-oriented skill building will stem the unnecessary migration towards the urban centres.