Urban migration, a growing concern

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Arunachal is witnessing increased migration by villagers to the Capital region, district HQs and major towns. In fact many villages near towns are left only with elderly population who are sticking to the villages’ due legacy and tradition while most young persons have already migrated to towns! Many villages are not finding sufficient students for their schools. Very few youth are taking up the traditional profession of their forefathers like farming or agri-horticulture.

People migrate to cities in search of better economic benefits, better education, better medical facilities and more jobs. This urban influx is overwhelming the few towns and cities. Many towns are witnessing unplanned growth with lack of water supply, electricity, drainage, parking space, children parks, playgrounds etc. This is further leading to an increase in pollution, traffic jams, crime, drug addiction, alcoholism etc. Unless this fast paced urban migration is stemmed, our towns and cities are headed for chaos and collapse.

There are no easy solutions to this complex problem of urban migration. Every person wants to taste town life, better education, health care, shopping malls, multiplexes etc. Govt, intellectuals, elders and society must step in with some innovative methods to slow this urban migration.

One way to stem urban migration is by improving rural infrastructure like stable electricity, water supply, mobile/internet connectivity and good roads between towns and villages. If there are good roads, stable electricity, mobile/internet connectivity, good schools in rural areas, lesser people are likely to migrate from villages. Other way could be to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system wherein financial and executive power is vested with Panchayati Raj institutions of rural areas. Another option could be to shift main offices of state govt and district hqs. to nearby rural areas away from cities. For example the capital of Gujarat is at Gandhinagar which is in a rural area 30-35 km away from the city of Ahmedabad. Another example is Yupia, the district HQ of Papumpare. Another option could be to shift major industries, educational institutes/universities, central institutes to rural areas. This would create more job opportunities in rural areas and uplift the rural economy. One way maybe is by making rural livelihood options like agri-horticulture, livestock rearing, fisheries etc more attractive with incentives, grants, assured markets, subsidies etc.

Urban migration is killing our towns and cities which are overpopulated, polluted, dirty and chaotic. As responsible citizens we all must contribute to stem this menace of urban migration. Do you still want to live in cities & towns?  (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)