Urban areas are growing at an alarming rate. Due to unplanned growth, lack of capacity in planning and execution and excessive political interference in urban development projects, most cities are expanding haphazardly.
Acute shortage of affordable housing stock and consequent proliferation of slums and squatter settlements, limited availability of clean drinking water, inadequate facilities for waste disposal, woefully inadequate public transport system, growing pollution, road accidents and traffic congestion made worse by sprawl and urban blight are features common to most medium and large cities in the country.
Solutions exist, but gross mismanagement of resources, lack of capacity in municipal governance, general apathy and widespread corruption are major obstacles.
Parisar has been active in urban planning issues and has effectively intervened in opposing wrong policies at the local, regional and national level. Parisar along with other like minded citizens’ groups challenged the excessive modifications in the Pune Development Plan sanctioned in 1987 by filing a writ in the Mumbai High Court.
Parisar also participated in the citizens’ campaign to oppose construction on hills and hill-slopes – particularly for Survey No. 44, Erandvane which was reserved for a public garden but was sought to be converted to residential zone. Similar efforts to allow construction on Hanuman Hill for Symbiosis Institute and dereservations on large portions of Parvati Hill were opposed by wide publicity in the media and approaching the courts. Though this did not result in complete success, it did help to awaken the citizens to threats of environmental damage and over the years the local authority has become sensitized to issues of proper planning and sanctity of the Development Plan.