India, the land of contrasts and paradoxes. Is there any other such place in the world where so many contrasts exist side by side and yet they work together, each individual cog in the machine as important as the other to keep this behemoth ticking? Where the rural landscape and its creations are as necessary for the nation as its urban counterparts?
But Urbanisation brings with it many problems – while also facing hurdles towards its own growth. Here are some of the major problems of urbanisation in India:
The biggest problem of urbanisation is pollution. The sewage from massive factories pollutes water bodies which are the only source of clean water for numerous people. The waste from huge industries released in the air can lead to problems such as silicosis and lung cancer. It also deteriorates the ozone layer, which in turn affects global warming. Chemical wastes that seep into the land make it barren, and good land which can be used for agriculture is now dead. All of this coupled with the ever-increasing population is a recipe for disaster.
Rapid urbanisation leads to mass movement of people from villages to cities in search of a better life, drawn by the lure of riches and money. However, what they get is often far from what they expected. Instead of paradise, they come into an industrial era dominated by slums where others seeking similar riches have come and drowned in a life full of work and unhospitable, inhabitable conditions, with harsh work hours. These squalid settlements give rise to crimes as well as become a nesting ground for bacteria and viruses spreading diseases.
People from all corners of the country come seeking the mythical treasure that is enhanced wages and a better quality of life to cities. However, since there is a lot of supply of workers and often not enough demand, they get exploited by cruel factory owners, wherein they are paid a pittance for their jobs and made to work long hours. All of this leads to a deterioration in their health. However, those who have sold of everything in their villages have no other option but to continue and people who do get a job are the lucky ones, while the unemployed folks have to rely on the generosity of others.
The concentration of a large population living in squalor in slums in the urban sprawl makes it a haven for the spread of diseases. Mosquitoes, flies, rats, and similar pests thrive in these places, leading to epidemics of polio, dengue, cholera and the like. Most of these places have a common water source and thus one infected person can spread the disease all over the region, leading to widespread panic and chaos.
With overcrowding in the cities, traffic congestion becomes a problem, increasing the time it takes to commute over even small distances. In urgent cases when one needs to visit the hospital, or when the health services and emergency services are needed, this can be the difference between life and death.