Gujarat's urban growth

The population of the city covered by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has risen to 54.52 lakh against 35.20 lakh in the census a decade ago. Sources in Gujarat government say that the huge rise of 54.88 per cent in the population of Ahmedabad city has been mainly on account of factors like “massive urbanization leading to migration of people from not just Gujarat’s rural areas but also from other parts of India”. However, Surat beats Ahmedabad with a rise of 80.77 per cent since the last census. A city where labourers come from Saurashtra and faraway Orissa to polish diamonds and work in small powerloom units, Surat’s population grew to 44.01 lakh from 24.34 lakh. The rise in the previous decade (1990s) in Surat was also high — 62.31 per cent. Surat’s corporation limit was expanded by four times in 2006. While expansion of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) limit by nearly 2.5 times in 2006 has had an impact in the rise in city’s population, wardwise analysis by a senior state bureaucrat shows a rise of 28.55 per cent in the old AMC area (190.84 sq km). “Population in the old AMC limit has reached 45.25 lakh, while the new areas have added another 9.62 lakh,” the official said. The density in the old areas has gone up to 23,711 per sq km from 18,429 per sq km in 2001. In the nineties, the growth in Ahmedabad city’s population was slower at 22.22 per cent. These figures are based on the data collected and collated on the basis of phase-1 census in June. A final picture will emerge after phase-2, which will start in February 2011. Based on phase-1 data, officials believe Gujarat’s urban growth would be perhaps one of the highest in India. “We have been told that Ankleshwar’s population has grown by 85 per cent,” a state official said, adding, “While Gujarat’s population in 2000s appears to have risen by 18 per cent, the population of such cities like Rajkot, Jamnagar and Junagadh has jumped by at least twice as much”. The population of Junagadh, which became a municipal corporation recently, rose by 82 per cent in 2000s as against 29 per cent in 1990s.

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