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Lack of infrastructure hindering Indian growth
India's economic transformation is being slowed by a huge infrastructure gap and huge cities like Mumbai are feeling the pinch most, as Richard Lindell reports.


India has long been touted as Asia's next economic superpower.

However its development is being held back by a huge shortage of basic infrastructure. A fact laid bare by last months' massive power blackout.

Investment of fully $1.2 trillion is needed over the next two decades, six times current and planned spending levels.

And India's biggest cities are feeling the problem most.

India correspondent Richard Lindell reports from Mumbai.
Transcript
RICHARD LINDELL, REPORTER: Mumbai is a city in a hurry. Here Bollywood movie stars mingle with India's newly minted millionaires and those dreaming of joining the rich and famous.

Like no other Indian city Mumbai has cashed in on the country's emergence. All that money and glamour and unmatched pace in energy are powerful attractions to migrants and locals alike.

FEMALE MUMBAI RESIDENT: I love the pure energy of the city, like everything is buzzing and there's never a dull moment in the city. So that's what I really love. And everything: the food, the people.

(Footage of Mumbai traffic)

MALE MUMBAI RESIDENT: It's all about traffic in the mornings and traffic in the evenings and nothing in the middle but yet a city that never sleeps. A city that has grown a lot over the years, a city that completely defines or defies what any other city in the country is.

RICHARD LINDELL: Mumbai generates 6 per cent of India's GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and incomes here are three times the national average. But the economic development has come at a cost.

(Footage of Mumbai Traffic)

The traffic here is horrendous. It's one of the most noticeable signs of a city that is failing to keep up with the pace of development and growth.

A lack of housing is another. Apartment towers are replacing older buildings and slums but at nowhere near a fast enough rate.

Developers blame ad hoc planning and poor governance.

DHEERAJ SHAH, PROPERTY DEVELOPER: We are trying to redevelop this property. Here there were three buildings occupying about 45 tenants.

RICHARD LINDELL: It's a frustration property developer Dheeraj Shah has endured first hand.

His company cleared this large, inner city block more than a year ago, but work has been delayed by endless red tape and bureaucrats creating and re-creating the rules at every turn. A standard ploy by those seeking a slice of the action.

DHEERAJ SHAH: For everything you know whatever files we had to clear, so they need some obligation. Without obligation, no files would be cleared in India. So that is the major setback you know which we are facing right now.

RICHARD LINDELL: So everyone wants a cut?

DHEERAJ SHAH: Everybody wants cash. Everybody wants cash

RICHARD LINDELL: Dheeraj Shah is far from alone and the net result is a lack of afford able housing for Mumbai's burgeoning Middle class.

In a pattern familiar to more developed economies the middle class are now moving to the suburbs.

PERVEEN CHAMA, MUMBAI RESIDENT: Come on, come in this is our living area. We have an open space. We have a fantastic view.

RICHARD LINDELL: Fed up with a lack of amenities and short commutes that would end up taking hours, Perveen Chama moved to the suburbs a few years ago.

PERVEEN CHAMA: Life was becoming a little bit difficult. We had parking problems, we didn't have a 24-hour water supply. Electricity was never a problem. And we didn't have lift.

And all the facilities are availability over here. We have a swimming pool. We have a yoga spa; so health wise, fun wise, mental peace our lives much better.

RICHARD LINDELL: While the middle class is moving out, poor migrants continue to in. Sixty million Indians make their way to urban centres every year and nearly all of them live out their lives in slums like this one.

(Footage of slum area in Mumbai)

Hema Dhanraj Gowda was married two months ago to a migrant, his work as a driver provides a better life than they would have had in the village, although Hema says quality of life is relative.
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