For a country that implements policies that force rural population to migrate to urban centres in search of livelihood and education, inability to ensure supply of piped water to 26 per cent of its urban population clearly exposes its misplaced priorities.
The 65th round of the National Sample Survey has reported that of the 423 Class-I cities surveyed, only 39 qualified on all three basic tests -- turbidity, residual chlorine and Thermo Tolerant Coliform bacteria -- conducted to check water quality at consumer end.
The report also says that 74 per cent of the urban households have access to piped water supply whereas the remaining 26 per cent still relies on sources like tube wells and hand pumps.
The NSS reports that 11% of households had no latrines, 8% were using pit latrines and 77 percent of urban households were using either septic tanks or flush latrines. Further, according to 2001 Census, less than two-third of the urban households were connected to sewer system.
As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report of 2009, installed treatment capacity was only 30%. Only about 20% sewage generated was treated before disposal in Class I cities and Class II towns (as per 2001 census). As per CPCB report brought out in 2005, about 1,15,000 MT of Municipal Solid Waste is generated daily in the country.
Public transport accounts for only 22 per cent of the urban transport in the nation. Out of 85 cities with population of 0.5 million or more, only 20 cities have a city bus service.
As per 2001 Census of India, 52.4 million people lived in slums in 1743 towns which constitutes 23.5% of the population of these towns. The Technical Group on the Estimation of Housing Shortage projects the total shortage of dwelling units in urban areas in 2007 to be 24.71 million and the shortage during the plan period (2007-12) including the backlog is estimated to be 26.53 million of which 99% pertains to the EWS & LIG segments of the urban population.
If this is the condition of rapidly developing urban India, one can very well imagine the plight of backward and rural areas.