‘Boost Counter Magnet Areas to control migration’

State govts. concerned have taken little initiative to develop these areas, says draft NCR regional plan

The draft Regional Plan-2041 for the National Capital Region has put special emphasis on strengthening of the economic base of the Counter Magnet Areas (CMAs), the urban areas located sufficiently away from the NCR with significant economic growth, to intercept the flow of migration to the national capital and its neighbouring areas.

However, the report said that the State governments concerned had taken “little” initiative for strengthening the economic base and regional linkages in these areas to enable them to undertake their assigned roles.

The report said the State governments were keener on adding more areas to the NCR rather than focus on the development of the CMAs.

The nine CMAs to the NCR spread across six States are: Hisar and Ambala (Haryana), Kanpur-Lucknow corridor and Bareilly (U.P.), Jaipur and Kota (Rajasthan), Patiala-Rajpura corridor (Punjab), Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) and Dehradun (Uttrakhand).

Population growth

The report identifies large size and continuing growth of the population in the NCR adding to the burden on infrastructure and natural resources as a major challenge, adding that migration was one of the major contributors to it. The total population of the NCR is projected to be around 11.30 crore by 2041, with Uttar Pradesh sub-region contributing the maximum 3.75 crore, followed by Haryana 3.34 crore, NCT-Delhi 3.08 crore and Rajasthan 1.12 crore. Also, the NCT-Delhi is expected to be 100% urban by 2031.

The NCRPB in its 31st meeting on 11 November 2009, had decided that CMAs would not limit to urban areas only and development could be proposed in the form of corridors. It was also decided that these Counter Magnet Areas shall consider its zone of influence for migration as the area within about 120 km radius around them. Also, the State governments concerned were to notify their respective CMAs and prepare development plans and related plans of action for implementation.

Plans of action

But the draft report pointed out that the plans of action were prepared only for Jaipur and Kota. Out of the nine CMAs, only five CMAs have submitted a total of 14 projects to the NCR planning board for financial assistance.

The report suggested that various Ministries should prioritise the CMAs in “improving transport linkages by providing high-speed connectivity through expressways, national highways, rapid rail transport systems, airports, and by creating robust digital infrastructure as a tool for socio-economic development”. The State governments concerned should develop the CMAs as model industrial estates, technology parks, tourist hubs or nodes (e.g. Jaipur, Patiala, Gwalior), education or coaching hub (e.g. Kota), special economic zones for attracting economic investments, said the draft plan.

The NCRPB, in its report, said it could also financially support the joint development projects prepared by the State governments and the development authorities concerned for these CMAs through its prevailing funding pattern.

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