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Towards a comprehensive master plan for Mysore

Special Correspondent

Focus must be on issues that will determine the city's character


  • Population growth, transport scenario and water and power supply should be assessed
  • People should make a choice about the kind of city they want to live in
  • Some critical steps should be taken to conserve Mysore's heritage
  • Heavy industries should take the back seat; software and other sectors must be favoured



    OUT OF CONTROL? A master plan for Mysore should help minimise haphazard development that erodes the city's heritage status. — PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

    MYSORE: The population forecast for the next 50 years, visualising the emerging transport scenario and assessing the demand-supply situation for power and water, are key issues with a bearing on Mysore that should be reflected in the proposed master plan for the city.

    Identifying industries that do not dilute Mysore's heritage status is also imperative if the city is to retain its old-world charm and move ahead with the times.

    Bhamy V. Shenoy, an energy expert associated with the Mysore Grahakara Parishat, has come out with suggestions and identified areas in which the public can contribute to help the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) formulate the Comprehensive Plan for Mysore by 2007.

    MUDA is formulating a master plan for Mysore in view of the projected growth of the city and has sought public opinion in this regard. The earlier plans of MUDA went in a vain as the exercise was reduced to a mechanical process. But this time around, the public has an opportunity to have their say in the final document.

    Key issues

    The key issues for Mysoreans is to decide what kind of a city they want to have. If the choice is to conserve Mysore as a heritage city with its tourist attraction intact, then it calls for preserving the charm of Mysore by maintaining the heritage sites, modifying the building bylaws to insist on retention of the original facade when old buildings are renovated, and passing rules on the aesthetic use of colour, Dr. Shenoy says.

    He also stresses the need to identify the right kind of industries if the city is to be promoted for heritage and tourism. He points out that heavy industries may have to take a backseat and preference should be given to software, garments, electronics and the health industry whose presence will not impair the beauty of Mysore.

    But population forecast and an accurate projection for the next 25 years to 50 years are a pre-requisite for a good master plan and calls for identifying the present resident and floating populations. But this key issue was treated in a cursory manner in the previous plans, Dr. Shenoy says.

    This is important if the authorities are to meet the growing demand for basic amenities such as water. If the present yardstick of supplying 135 litres of water a day for a person holds good 25 years from now, the city will require 162 million litres of water a day (MLD) for a projected population of 12 lakhs in 2025 or 432 MLD for a projected population of 32 lakhs. This means that an additional 5.06 tmcft of water is needed, says Dr. Shenoy and cautions that this is above the current demand on the Krishnaraja Sagar and other reservoirs in the region for agricultural purposes, industrial use and drinking water supply to other cities, including Bangalore. Hence, it calls for exploring various strategies to reduce pressure on the existing sources by resorting to rainwater harvesting, recycling wastewater on a large scale, imposing higher tariffs for higher consumption to encourage water conservation. Likewise, the power situation will play a key role in determining Mysore's image as a city ripe for investment and MUDA should conceive private investment in a modern power plant to meet the power requirement, he says.

    Connectivity

    The other key issues pertain to connectivity to Bangalore and the rest of the world and Dr. Shenoy is of the opinion that with the commissioning of work on the Bangalore International Airport and the likely reduction in the travel time between Bangalore and Mysore, the master plan should anticipate a rise in traffic and make provisions to expand the Mysore airport in the master plan. Likewise, the imperatives of studying the traffic statistics and projecting future trends with a simulation model culminating in identifying the most appropriate mass rapid transport system is underlined.

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