VRINDAVAN ECO-CITY IN MAKING: Working Together for Sustainable Development

2010-01-15 from:Vrindavan Eco-city in Making author:Dr. S. K. Kulshrestha

As a part of the Tenth Five Year Plan, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) initiated the Eco-city Project, in 2002, with grant-in-aid from the Ministry of Environment and Forest(MoEF), Government of India. The German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), under its Indo-German Programme on Advisory Services for Environmental Management (ASEM), extended the technical support to the project.

In a selected city, the focus of the Eco-city Project is:

1. To improve environment through conservation of natural resources, managem of sewerage, drainage and solid waste; reduction of air and water pollution; recycling of wastes and creation of job opportunities for the urban poor;

2. To improve visual qualities through urban design of selected complexes and landscaping of parks and open spaces and providing green belts;

3. To improve traffic management by providing efficient circulation, parking, pedestrian system that cater to the residents as well as the visitors to the tow;

4. To build capacities of the stakeholders to prepare and implement projects;

5. To monitor the projects using specific environmental indicators;

6. To document the project impact;

7. To improve urban management and for this purpose, promote networking of participating cities with similar cities in Europe; and

8. To improve tourism and job opportunities.


Eco-city Development Plan

The Vrindavan case study demonstrates that Eco-city Development Plan (EDP), as evolved under the Eco-city Project, acts as a potent tool to inform people and other stakeholders about the problems, prospects and projects that will improve the quality of life in the town and make it clean and environmentally sustainable. This plan also serves as a source of information to the partners in development about the prospective projects where they could participate and invest their resources. EDP also specifies, the requirements, approach and the technical requirements for detailed project report formulation by the project implementation agencies, which could be NGOs, CBOs, or government or semi-government bodies.

People's Behaviour towards Developmental Issues

An analysis of people's responses, in case of EDP of Vrindavan, reflects that an entrance gate, accessibility and quality of roads are their current top concerns. Solid waste management, regular supply of drinking water, and provision of toilet facility follows it. Conservation of heritage buildings and sites, landscaping and other aesthetic treatments are lower in their priorities. They have, however, shown considerable concern about protecting green spaces and local cultural and traditional values. It is, probably, due to the current situation where the basic services and facilities available to people are inadequate. This situation, regarding priority concerns and lack of appreciation for conservation and landscaping may change with time and level of development in future.

Working Together

The case study demonstrates that the people, NGOs, CBOs, and the municipality are working together in the process of planning and development of Vrindavan. The experience from the Eco-city Project indicates that to achieve a better participation of people, the following will be desirable:

• the presentation of plans and projects, questionnaires and discussions should, as far as possible, be in the local language;

• the people should always feel that the development plan has been prepared to assist them in making decisions and nothing is being imposed upon them and they have the upper hand to decide;

• the people are, generally, reluctant to express their views in large gathering, or filling a questionnaire or prioritising projects individually and therefore, they may be organised into several small groups, according to their choice, for an intense, free and frank discussion and decision making;

• technical assistance provided by the national or international organisations help in motivating NGOs and their confidence building;

• the role of municipalities should be to encourage and facilitate the process of working together and demonstrate their commitment through implementing some projects to set the ball rolling.