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Published Date: Aug 29, 2013

SDPI Press Release (August 29, 2013)

The management of peri-urban areas is neglected by both rural and urban administrations because they are located beyond both rural and urban boundaries of cities in zones that are generally not identified as specific entities of planning” mutually agreed by Pakistan and Indian students during a webinar.

In this regards, a webinar titled “Rural to Urban Transition and Their Peri-Urban Interface:, Mapping, and Understanding Peri-Urban Area in India and Pakistan” was organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute in collaboration with South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (Hyderabad, India) and East-West Center (Honolulu, Hawaii).

SDPI is working with South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (Hyderabad, India) and East-West Center (Honolulu, Hawaii) to study governance issues in peri-urban areas and what consequences peri-urbanization causes to the environment and health. Under the said project the two partners have completed National Status Reports. The reports seeks to develop mutual interest and relationships around the topic of rural to urban transition and peri-urban interface in South Asia students have been engaged in the two countries to present the National Status Reports in a cross-border dialogue. Students from India & Pakistan gave their presentations.

Anjal Parakash, Executive Director SACIWaters, India opened the session by introducing the organization and highlighting the importance of the newly developed concept of the peri-urbanization. He also debriefed about the project they are conducting in collaboration with SDPI.

Qasim Shah from SDPI Pakistan said that this joint project has overcome the border hindrances and it is effective for a long term relationship. It is great that Indian students are presenting Pakistan’s problem of peri-urban and Pakistani students is having a privilege to present peri urban issues in India. Further he added that advocacy issues in both countries needs to be highlighted and resolved.

While giving her presentation, Ms. Nithiya from India presented her study saying that unfortunately due to the growth expansion of Pakistan per capita availability of water has decreased to 1100 cubic meters (m3) per person per year in 2007 from 5300 m3 in 1951. She said that there is no basic or formal waste collection system operating in the peri-urban areas. The lack of proper waste disposal mechanism is a pressing matter as it caused fecal contamination of ground water. In addition, industrial waste is destroying agriculture land that drains flow through, for example Hudiara Drain. “The concentration of nitrogen oxides in the city is ten times higher that set out standards by WHO”, she added.

Mr. Sudhir from India explained about the health and governance issues in peri-urban areas of Pakistan. These problems are both consequences of serious institutional and governance deficiencies in the system. According to him, WHO reports that Pakistan falls short on most of social development indicators i.e. health, sewerage etc. specifically when compared with other countries of similar per capita income. “The guiding principles for peri-urban areas should be a balance between long term and short term policies. The involvement of NGO’s, community based, and private organizations are required. Most of the peri-urban are going to face a major problem of waste disposal” he said

Muhammad Zeeshan from Pakistan spoke about the definitions of the peri-urban areas. ‘Peri urban is not the proximity to towns or village rather it is the coexistence of both rural and urban characteristics, he explained. He also added that peri-urban needs not to be on the outskirts of the city, it can be located anywhere within or outside the city.

M. Hamza Abbas described the socio-economic drivers in per urban areas. Slum rehabilitation and weak government has caused peri-urban areas. Further he added that policies for setting up special economic zones and boost to outsourcing industry should be revised to solve the land and industrial expansion in India. Intensive use of the automobile for daily commuting is also causing damage.

Asma Butt from Pakistan discussed that in India environmental factors being affected by peri-urbanization are solid waste management issues, land degradation, expansion in population, water drainage, sewerage issues and health problems. It causes the reduction of natural resources, poor quality of life, wide spread diseases and wrong treatment of solid waste.

Mariam Shabbir Abbasi from Pakistan shared the environmental issues caused by peri-urbanization. She also mentioned the poor state of sanitary condition prevailing in the peri-urban areas of Patna, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Chennai and Ahmedabad. She stressed that the environmental depletion have not only affected the human health but has threatened the existence of animals and trees. She also spoke about the initiatives taken by various NGO’s to address the issues of waste management.

Muhammad Adnan from Pakistan recommended that there is a need for a legislation regarding solution of peri-urban governance issues. They should have a separate body to be constituted for resolving conflicts of rural-urban authorities.

Junaid Zahid from Pakistan presented the policy recommendations of the study. He said that the capacity of government authorities to regulate economic activities is weak in India. The relationship between elected local governments and traditional authorities can be quite critical thatswhy both urban and rural authorities needs to collaborate. Local government and creating institutional structure can cause improvement.

During discussion, Prof. Sheela Prasad, from University of Hyderabad India said that peri-urban is a zone between the suburbs and extension of urban areas. Today in India especially according to mega city context, peri-urban has become a zone of transit where dominant activity continues to be agriculture.

Mr. Arvind Susarla from University of Hyderabad India said that the characteristic of peri-urban are varying from country to country so we cannot have a uniform definition of it.

While concluding the session, Anum A. Khan from SDPI Pakistan described that peri-urban area is different in terms of place, concept and process. The requirement of this part is different form urban, rural and slum areas and this angle needs to be addressed by policy makers. Problems should be addressed at the earliest because the issues would be aggravated in 3-5 years of time. She also stressed that the definition of the peri-urban must not be too wide so as to ensure that the area under the peri-urban is not over-lapping any boundaries.