As the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most-populous state, Lucknow has attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants from rural areas, swelling the city’s population. Yet the city hasn’t completed any major new sewage infrastructure since before the country won independence in 1947. As much as 70% of residents don’t have sewage service, leaving much of the waste to flow directly into the main river, the Gomti, which has become a stinking cesspool.
Wall Street Journal has an article on India’s megacities with the tagline that they are choking India. But is that really what is happening in India? There is an inherent understanding that there is a conflicting dichotomy between urban and rural regions. But even if it does exist, quotes in the WSJ article itself contradict its byline:
Shami Shafi, a 35-year-old laborer in Lucknow, has seen his daily income drop by half in recent months to 50 rupees, or about $1, for carrying bags of potatoes and other goods in a local market. But “I’m not going back to my village,” he says. If work gets harder to find, “I’ll just go to another city.”
Atanu Dey, noted economist and widely-respected proponent of urban India points at the real culprits of urban problems.