Noida grows, but poor infrastructure, closure of industries haunt

April 17th, 2009 - 10:52 am ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party Noida, April 17 (IANS) Despite being a virtual extension of India’s national capital, this industrial hub, software centre and leisure destination still laments over poor power supply and roads, making the hunger for such essentials as well as the closure of industries major election planks.
Close to 10,000 industrial units dot this city, technically in Uttar Pradesh but bordering New Delhi. Just a fourth of them function. Rising crime and poor infrastructure have only fanned the angst of the 250,000-strong electorate.

“The government in power has only traded stones and erected statues,” said Samajwadi Party contestant Narendra Bhati, seeking to blame both the central and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government of Chief Minister Mayawati for the lack of development.

“Little has been done to look after the development of the state as a whole and this city in general,” Bhati told IANS, promising to bring change if elected.

For Noida Entrepreneurs Association president Rakesh Katyal, jobs, or the lack of them, was a major issue, as only 2,700 industrial units were functioning out of 9,700 that had set up shop here.

“The financial slowdown has eaten up small and medium industries and the rest are hit by high value-added tax. But the government does not appear to be concerned.”

Then there is mafia - and crime.

“The city is transforming from an industrial hub to a crime hub,” Aditya Ghildyal, general secretary of the Association of Greater Noida Industries, told IANS.

It was here that the infamous serial killings of children took place and gory tales of cannibalism hit global headlines. And it was again here that the chief executive of a multinational firm was lynched in broad daylight.

“Industrialists and we residents are scared to step out of our houses in the night. Why talk about night, there are incidents taking place in broad daylight,” said Ghildyal.

The suburban city which was earlier part of a reserved constituency, Khurja, has become Gautam Buddh Nagar constituency after delimitation. Home to nearly 400,000 people, this booming city has seen for almost four decades migration of people from all parts of the country, both for job and for a home of their own.

Noida has become a major residential hub as people took up apartments in the suburb’s high rises, strewn across the city, at most competitive prices, little knowing that they would have to later regret their decision.

Little wonder then that Satya Verma, an employee of information technology major Hindustan Computers Ltd, who was once elated getting a job in Noida, now regrets his decision.

“Development is restricted to some areas. Water is dirty. Electricity supply is poor. There are potholes everywhere. Theft and burglaries are routine,” he said.

“It is hard to believe that there are so many software companies here - many of them catering to Fortune 500 companies,” he added, a view shared by Sunit Rai, a public relations executive who lives in Sector 62.

“Why blame politicians alone? It seems people are also comfortable with big shopping malls mushrooming in the city. They do not really seem to care about basic needs like infrastructure,” Rai said.

The suburban city boasts of international-style shopping malls highlighting the glaring differences in the two parallel ecosystems that runs in the city. The Great India Noida Place - a one kilometre long mall - and other shopping marts like Centre Stage Mall, Spice and many more are some of the examples of its glamorous side.

Then there is the Atta market, a shoppers paradise for the middle-class, which houses almost everything a household would need at very competitive prices.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Ashok Kumar Pradhan won the 2004 polls from Khurja with an impressive margin of 41,350 votes. He is contesting this time from Bulandshahr and Mahesh Sharma, owner of the well-known Kailash Hospitals and a doctor himself, is the BJP candidate from Noida.

“We want maximum number of people to come out and vote no matter whoever they vote for,” BJP vice-president Chiranjeev Mahajan said.

“What this city needs is an educated leader who would understand policies and not any someone who would only grow richer with the nation’s money.”

The Congress got only 18.16 percent of the votes in 2004. This time, it has fielded Ramesh Chand Tomar, who was in the BJP for years and switched to the Congress recently.

The BSP too has a new candidate this year - Surendra Nagar, who has huge resources at his disposal being the owner of Paras Milk, a Rs. 600-crore dairy business.

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