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Rapid urbanisation harmful: Prof Macomber, HBS

Rapid urbanization in India might lead to scarcity of key resources like water, energy and sanitation according Prof John D Macomber, Lecturer, Havard Business School. Prof John D Macomber, who specialises in real estate was speaking at a session on sustainable development in urban infrastructure and construction sector. The session was organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (Eastern Region) in Kolkata.
The session took a critical note of the challenges posed by rapid urbanization in India with eight million people being added to the urban population every year. Focusing to advance his research interests in the area of policy, finance and strategy in Real Estate, Construction, and infrastructure, the Guest of Honour Prof. Macomber cited best practices from Mexico, Poland and USA on water, sanitation, road and mass housing schemes to emphasize on the need for planned and cost effective urbanization.
Referring to rapid industrialization in India, he said, "Rapid rural to urban migration in India is leading to exponential growth of population in Indian cities. In the coming years, scarcity of resources, like water, energy, sanitation is going to be a major challenge for fast developing countries, which can only be addressed through rapid infrastructure development."
In his welcome address, Harshvardhan Neotia, MD, Bengal Ambuja Housing Development Ltd said: "Rapid urbanization and infrastructure development is key impetus to economic development." Sumit Dabriwal, MD, Hiland Group apprised the session on the state of urbanization in West Bengal. Making a detailed presentation on the urban infrastructure development in West Bengal under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), he recommended, "There should be rigorous review of implementation process of the JNNURM funded projects. There is an urgent need for pooling information."
Highlighting details of fund allocation into various infrastructure sectors under the current plan period, 2007-2012, the Chairman of the session, Rajive Kaul, Chairman, Nicco Corporation Ltd and Past President, CII said, "All these if implemented in a planned manner will put India in the fast track to growth."
Referring to a case study on Redevelopment of Dharavi in Maharashtra, Prof Macomber also give a brief analysis of concerns on business and social aspects including cost of construction, cost of capital, and revenues from sale of units, the analysis must consider many aspects of risk including political risk, market risk and execution risk.

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