Capital misses million plus city bus

19 Oct

BHUBANESWAR: Contrary to speculations, no city in Orissa could make it to the Million Plus Cities — cities having population of more than 10 lakh — as per Census figures released on Monday. The Census 2011 found 53 cities in the country in the million club, 18 more than the 35 during the Census in 2001. The headcount in the temple city was pegged at 8.37 lakh, far less than that of Raipur’s 10.10 lakh, Ranchi (10.73 lakh) and Dhanbad (11.61 lakh).

“It was way below all estimates,” said Mayor Anant Jena, as various projections put it over 12 lakh earlier conceding that it was a setback because Million Plus Cities would instill different confidence among investors. The city added 1.9 lakh people in past 10 years when the state’s population increased from 3.68 crore in 2001 to the current 4.19 crore. The city’s population was 6.47 lakh in 2001. The combined population of the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar stood at 14.43 lakh, which is comparable to that of Nasik alone in Maharashtra.

The population in planned municipal corporation area of the state capital would be far less because the census figures of 8.37 lakh included those in industrial and colony area and villages of Patrapada, Sijua, Ransinghapur, Sarakantara, Bahadalpur, Ebaranga, Raghunathpurjali, Kalarahanga, Injana, Rokat, Kesora, Koradakanta and Bankual villages.

Bhadrak joined the league of class I towns, those having population above one lakh, taking total number of such cities in Orissa to 10. It was nine in the 2001 Census. Other class I towns include Cuttack with a population of 6.06 lakh and Berhampur 3.55 lakh besides Sambalpur, Rourkela Industrial Township, Rourkela, Baripada, Baleshwar, Puri and Berhmpur having population below three lakh. The combined population of all Class I urban areas in Orissa is 26.47 lakh, which is just a little more than that of Nagpur alone but far less compared to cities like Ahmedabad (55 lakh) and even Surat (44 lakh).

Demographers said pace of urbanization in Orissa has been very slow. “The figures show that the rate of urbanization was not as fast as was hyped to be,” said Dr Almas Ali, a demographer. The apparent emergence of Bhubaneswar as an IT-education hub and the unprecedented realty growth made people believe that the city had expanded leaps and bounds and increased its headcount substantially, which was proved otherwise.

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