[Answered] “Haphazard developmental projects often lead to disasters.” Discuss in the light of recent disaster caused by Narmada flooding.

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Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. How haphazard development is dangerous? What should be done? Conclusion. Way forward.

Urbanization mirrors economic growth, so rapid urban development contributes to the concentration of people and assets in locations, including tropical cyclone and tsunami-prone coastlines and river basins. However, in many cities and countries that have successfully attracted economic investment, haphazard development has resulted in disaster risk reduction and the capacities to implement have often lagged behind.

Haphazard development projects and disasters:

  1. Disaster is increasing faster in rapidly growing small- and medium-sized urban centres than in either rural areas or larger cities.
  2. As cities grow wealthier, investments in infrastructure and services tend to reduce extensive risks. Urban development is driving new patterns of both extensive and intensive risk, particularly in informal settlements, along with high levels of environmental degradation.
  3. Unplanned development is socially segregated, characterized by unequal access to urban areas, infrastructure, services and security.
  4. Low-income households in particular are often forced to occupy exposed areas with low land values, with deficient or non-existent infrastructure and social protection, and high levels of environmental degradation. The result is a pattern of spatially and socially segregated disaster risk.
  5. Most of the developmental projects in has occurred through informal mechanisms of land acquisition, building and infrastructure provision. Informality is often associated with low pay and high exposure to environmental hazards.
  6. Haphazard development can change the environment or ecosystem through, for instance, the expansion of paved, impermeable areas, which prevent rain from being absorbed by the soil thereby increasing flood hazard, particularly in low-lying areas.
  7. Inadequately planned and managed projects also create new risks which threaten to erode current development gains. The lack of adequate infrastructure and services, unsafe housing, inadequate and poor health services can turn natural hazard into a disaster.
  8. There is also the potential for the creation of man-made hazards through poor regulation of construction and industrial practices in urban areas.

Approaches for lessening and managing disaster risk in urban development include:

  1. Investment and public regulation, e.g. enforcing safety enhancing regulations including building codes and planning rules.
  2. Resilient infrastructure development, e.g. earthquake resistant infrastructure development.
  3. Adequate service provision, e.g. provision and maintenance of electricity, water supply, and drainage systems in urban environments can reduce flood risk, but also increases the vested interest in protecting assets.
  4. Risk transfer, e.g. a cross-subsidised insurance scheme which provides poor households with catastrophe insurance cover.
  5. Effective risk governance, e.g. integrating disaster risk reduction into city regulations, making it an integral part of local development.

Weak regulation, for instance the lack of enforcement of rules, planning permission and regulatory investment, often linked to corruption, allow the transfer of risk from construction companies to those who live and work in the building. Haphazard projects often result in disasters and loss of life and should be stopped.

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