Regional Planning
  • Background

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)was looking for new concepts and approaches for protecting the environment while ensuring that the developmental targets are achieved and conducted pilot studies on industrial siting based on environmental planning in 1988. Having convinced of the outcome of the planning approach for environmental protection, CPCB was awaiting an appropriate time for introducing the technique. The situation for introducing spatial environmental" planning matured by 1994, whereby the administration, the people, the industry etc. were all looking for a solution that can play a significant role in protecting the environment in a speedy and transparent manner while being non-anti-developmental. CPCB established an Environmental Planning Unit in 1995 and introduced an environmental (land use) planning programme known as "Zoning Atlas for siting of Industries" for identifying sites/zones for industries based on environmental considerations. The programme was extended to 14 States where teams were created to take up the task. The technical support was sought from GTZ (German Agency for Technical Cooperation) under the Indo-German Bilateral Programme. The end of 1995 received the first results. The acceptance of the programme by user agencies and the need for expansion of the programme was realised by the end of 1996. The support from GTZ was limited and hence funds from the World Bank were sought for the period April 1997 to June 2003, under the Environmental Management Capacity Building Project and the intensified ' Zoning Atlas' programme was commenced.

The Tripura Pollution Control Board embarked on the Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries project in the year 1996 in collaboration with CPCB, Delhi. In the first phase, the State of Tripura (all four Districts) was covered under the programme and the Zoning Atlas was prepared for the State by 2000.

The Zoning Atlas study for Tripura has revealed a picture, where most of the areas were found to be highly environmentally sensitive and hence not suitable for siting of polluting industries. Also it was seen that more than 60% of the State is under forests and includes environmentally fragile eco-system viz. sanctuaries. Also, nearly two third of the State is hilly posing constraints for development.

The State is also having considerable population living below poverty line. The State is second most poverty stricken in India. Due to its locational disadvantage and lack of proper transportation/connectivity with other parts of the country, the State could not attract industries. Due to lack of appropriate economic activity, not even agriculture in some parts of the State is developed, people have been resorting to shifting cultivation by destroying forests. Also, the State has seen a spurt of insurgency.

Realising the need for sustainable development where in the social, economic and environmental needs are harmonized, through appropriate planning of land and its resources, the study on 'Regional Planning: Tripura' had been taken up.

The experiences gained from the Zoning Atlas studies were used in developing rational methods and the regional planning study was taken up by the Central Pollution Control Board and the Tripura State Pollution Control Board.