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Tipping point

Today,one out of the six persons living in the urban areas of the state is said to be a Ludhianvi.

Written by Express News Service | Ludhiana |
September 6, 2009 4:58:33 am

From being a city inhabited by just about half a lakh people in 1947 to a conurbation exploding with over 20 lakh residents in 2009,Ludhiana’s population has seen mammoth growth with the public infrastructure finding it hard to keep up with the rising demands. Sameer Kumar Sharma finds out more

Today,one out of the six persons living in the urban areas of the state is said to be a Ludhianvi. The city,as per the available government records,has a population density of 8,755 persons per square kilometre. The figure is close to the density level in Delhi.

The city’s population has seen a steep rise starting with the inflow of refugees from Pakistan at the time of the Partition and through sixties to eighties. The population of the city grew by 51 per cent from 1961 to 1971 and by 67 per cent from 1981 to 1991.

Projections of the population of the city by 2021 take the figure to over 33 lakh,almost double the population in 2005. According to the government records,the population of the city was recorded at 16.65 in December 2005. The population is further projected to touch 40 lakh by 2025. The total area covered under the municipal corporation limits has 75,826 acres of land.

The experts are,therefore,wondering about how fast the government is gearing up for the changes to be seen in the next decade. It is anybody’s guess to know how good the transportation and traffic infrastructure in the city functions. With no public transport system introduced yet,residents depend upon autorickshaws or cycle rickshaws for commuting within the city.

“The fact that road and traffic services are choking at almost all nooks and corners and water scarcity is being reported from more areas than ever before,serves as a reminder to the government to hasten the pace of development of the city,” says a senior resident of the city.

With the rapid industrialisation,the inflow of the migrants from other states into the city has also increased manifold over the years. The demand for the labourers in the factories is so high that as per an estimate a strong 5-lakh population is said to inhabit city’s thickly population pockets including Gyaspura,Sherpur,Dhandari where the population density is nearing 300 residents per hectare.

Some of the high density population zones in the city include areas of the old city where there are as many as 300 persons reside in one hectare. Highly congested wards also include New Janta Nagar and Shimlapuri among others. Low to medium density areas include 120 to 200 residents per hectare.

Worse still,the city has 209 identified slum pockets and only 57 of them are said to have the provision of water supply,electricity,sewerage or even metalled roads. The number of people,informs an MC official,living in these slum areas equals 3 lakh.

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