Why don't people live in Lavasa 1

Lavasa - A new city is emerging

India is growing by 20 million people every year. Its economy must create over 10 million new jobs every year. Even a growth of 8 percent can hardly cope with these enormous requirements, all the more so when the population is growing

India is growing by 20 million people every year. Its economy must create over 10 million new jobs every year. Even a growth of 8 percent can hardly cope with these enormous requirements, all the more since the population growth is predominantly in the countryside and that of the economy in the urban centers. This imbalance between town and country triggers emigration to the towns that are already overpopulated and whose infrastructure is collapsing under the onslaught of newcomers or cannot be developed quickly enough. The resulting bottlenecks in the basic services of transport, electricity and water threaten to stifle the city's growth potential.

As a building contractor, Ajit Gulabchand is confronted with these challenges - housing, transport, water and energy supply - practically professionally. His insight: Migration cannot be stopped, it can only be redirected; and best of all with the creation of alternative urban incentives in the form of new cities. He took action himself. The city of Lavasa is emerging in the middle of the poorly populated hilly area between the centers of Mumbai and Pune. The first satellite with around 50,000 inhabitants - a city the size of Zurich is to be built - is ready for occupancy and an economic infrastructure is in place: water and electricity supply, a hospital, a hotel and a dozen companies. A government decree allows Ajit Gulabchand's company to provide the municipal administrator (he is a New Zealander). This ensures clean roads and reliable services for the residents.

For most Indians these are paradisiacal prospects, but it is precisely this that threatens to become Lavasa's greatest handicap. The city primarily attracts young, well-educated and senior citizens from the big cities. So it is not the poor from the villages - the typical migrants - who end up in Lavasa. And when they do, they come to work as day laborers. But they live in hut settlements on the outskirts of the future city and are not part of the urban development plan. Gulabchand knows about the problem.

But what happens when Lavasa is built? Will these monotonous long buildings degenerate into slums that cooks and nannies provide for the better residential areas? Or will the poor move on again, part of the army of jobseeking Indians? Gulabchand knows that the problem of migration can only be solved if the day laborers can be trained professionally so that they can make the leap into a modern world of work. The hut settlements are simple, but they have one thing that many villages do not have: kindergartens and schools. And the next thing to do is to add vocational courses for the workers.