More shopping malls, no basic amenities

New Delhi, November 13:

The bubble will burst in India’s mega-cities, if basic amenities like roads and water are neglected even as shopping malls mushroom, says an urban infrastructure expert.

V Suresh, a former Housing and Urban Development Corp Ltd (HUDCO) chairman, also says building new facilities for the 2010 Commonwealth Games here would be a waste of public funds. “What is the point of building white elephants for one or two events that will be left to rot after that? These are built using public money but the public rarely uses them after that,” he says, “Sports rarely grows from such initiatives. The authorities would do a lot better if they invested that money in providing the common people with sports infrastructure in urban areas.”

Suresh was also vice-chairman of the body that recently released National Building Code-2005 and has spent 40 years in the housing and construction industry. He was also critical that there was barely any effort going into the setting up of recreational infrastructure in both the urban and rural set-ups.

“Hardly anything is being done to add to recreational infrastructure that includes sports. This is what makes a difference to the quality of life in a city,” he said, “The other areas of recreational infrastructure that need looking into are health and education. We need to bring about a recreational culture in our cities.” While praising the growth in high-end commercial and economic infrastructure, he was critical of the lack of attention to basic utility infrastructure.