The “unplanned” and “vision-less” growth of Mangalore has led to a grim situation where the city will “die” if development could not be taken outside the present business areas of the city, said the newly-appointed Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim on Saturday.
In his first public interaction at the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which submitted a memorandum of demands for improving infrastructure and governance here, Mr. Ibrahim expressed pessimism about the future of the city if things do not drastically change.
With the city “growing only between Kottara and Pumpwell circle”, he said the lack of town planning had led to numerous civic issues, including narrow roads, lack of footpaths, accumulation of debris and garbage. “A Mumbai-based company had expressed interest in door-to-door collection, sweeping and other duties. However, their garbage compactors and trucks cannot be used in the city as the roads are too narrow,” said Mr. Ibrahim. Similarly, he said while every other major city in the State had developed numerous layouts in the outskirts, Mangalore did not even have one. “In a 1,000-acre layout, we can have more than 10,000 sites, develop roads of up to 100ft width, have more than 50 acres for playgrounds, another 50 acres for gardens, and in all 450 acres for public use,” he said.
He believed there had to be serious deliberations on why business enterprises were not coming to the city. “Only government industries are here. What is lacking in the city that doesn’t attract other entrepreneurs?” he said.
The DC said the problems that were discussed nearly 15 years ago, when he was the MCC Commissioner, persisted today. “We still talk about a permanent service bus stand, the development of the land where the Hampankatta bus stand used to be, construction of a Ranga Mandira, Kadri Park development… Not one playground has been developed, while the APMC is still not functioning (in Baikampady),” said Mr. Ibrahim.
In their memorandum, KCCI demanded the reversal of the hike in trade license fees levied by MCC on shopkeepers; development of Information Technology parks and incubation centres for start-up companies in the city; expediting the Mangalore Special Economic Zone project; rail over bridges to ensure smooth traffic on busy roads; footpaths and storm water drains in low-lying areas; water shed management; setting up of an exhibition centre and sports complex; and a full-fledged tourist office; among others.
Though refusing to comment on the Yettinahole diversion project, the DC expressed surprise at the “lack of public protest” over the project that will adversely affect the water security and environment of the district.