4 Terribly Designed International Cities



Terribly Designed International Cities

When you’re putting together any kind of urban development project, there are going to be logistical hiccups. That’s completely forgivable. What’s not forgivable is when the plan is completely thrown out the window and buildings and streets just pop up without any kind of flow or guide. But plans are thrown out disturbingly often. These are four of the most terribly designed cities on the planet.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia

Credit: AsiaTravel/Shutterstock

Jakarta is the poster child of poorly planned and executed cities. It’s frequently ranked among the worst cities in the world to live in and regularly takes the top spot of Indonesia’s worst urban offerings. Traffic is horrible and constant, the city’s sinking as people extract more and more water from the ground, and a majority of the residents have some kind of respiratory issue thanks to the polluted air. Three things a city needs to conquer to offer even average quality of life for its citizens.

The main problem is that the city government let itself get overwhelmed by small issues, then didn’t properly research the solutions they implemented. For example, when the city tried to alleviate traffic by investing in mass transit, they chose buses. But when they built the bus lanes, they didn’t modify the roads at all, which meant the buses got caught in the omnipresent traffic, which was made worse by the lessening of available lanes. It’s like when they decided to build mass transit, instead of using a common sense solution used by cities all over the world, the Jakartan government left its common sense in the trash and doubled down on making everything worse. Then they did that for every other problem the city faced too.

Naypyidaw, Burma

Naypyidaw, Burma

Credit: Pipop_Boosarakumwadi/iStockphoto

Where Jakarta was poorly built for the amount of people they had, Naypyidaw was built for people no one can see. Everything’s empty everywhere. They have twenty-lane highways that are completely devoid of cars. And we’re not being hyperbolic to prove a point. When Top Gear went to Burma to film a special, they were able to stage a super-sized drag race in the middle of the highway.

On the same Top Gear episode, the three hosts talked about how Naypyidaw wasn’t a waste because it was built in anticipation of massive growth, though they admitted the growth wasn’t there yet. We’d disagree a bit and say it was at least a partial waste because the Burmese government built the massive city for growth without actually doing anything to enable growth in the country. The Burmese people are incredibly poor and it is highly unlikely any of them are going to be able to afford the lifestyle the city’s prepared for. The only people making any money are the ones building the city, and there aren’t enough of them to populate things the way it seems the Burmese government wants.

Chennai, India

Chennai, India

Credit: Jayakumar/Shutterstock

Chennai’s bad planning manifests itself in the fatal flooding the city has recently experienced. Back in November and December of 2015, the city saw a series of floods that claimed the lives of at least 90 residents. Urban planners maintain this was not a failing on their part, but was instead the result of haphazard planning executed by the local government. A man named RR Kuberan and his New Chennai Project submitted a redevelopment plan that turned Chembarambakkam Lake into a reservoir that would have supplied Chennai with plenty of clean drinking water, a transformation that would also have dried out surrounding land enough for development. But instead of going with that plan, the city allowed private developers to sell off land piecemeal and turn it into housing, which made water management next to impossible. It was a case of a city going for short term economic growth and urbanization instead of long term planning.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Credit: Lumenite/Shutterstock

The planning for Dhaka’s expansion is nonexistent, which makes sense when you consider the way it grew. It started as a simple town, then exploded in size after Bangladesh won its independence in 1971. When it did, the city started on a path that would see its population increase a hundredfold, turning it into one of the most densely populated cities in the world. In that explosive growth, Dhaka failed to implement any planning or ordinance laws, which means buildings are often private ventures completely free of regulation or zoning and can be thrown up wherever and wherever, often to the detriment and destruction of any kind of unified sense of community. The city is a sprawling mass of slums, private construction, and traffic traffic traffic. It’s chaos incarnate, though people are slowly starting to realize how destructive that chaos can be.

Ahead of Cyclone Fani, Red Alert issued for Coastal Tamil Nadu



Ahead of Cyclone Fani, Met dept issues red alert for coastal Tamil Nadu

Weather tracking website Skymetweather.com has observed that the system may strengthen as a tropical storm on the evening of April 27 or on the morning of April 28.

INDIA Updated: Apr 25, 2019 17:47 IST

M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
IMD,Tamil Nadu,alert
The Indian Meteorological Department has said if the low pressure transforms into a cyclone, it will move in a western and north-westerly direction where Tamil Nadu lies.(PTI PHOTO)

The Indian Meteorological Department on Thursday issued a red alert for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on April 30 and May 1 saying heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely in the southern state and the union territory. The IMD and other private weather forecasters have predicted that a low pressure formed in the Bay of Bengal is likely to develop into a cyclone which would be named ‘Fani’.

According to the IMD, if the low pressure transforms into a cyclone, it will move in a western and north-westerly direction where Tamil Nadu lies.

“A well low-pressure area lies over East Equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining the southeast Bay of Bengal. It is very likely to intensify into a depression during the next 24 hours over East Equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining central parts of south Bay of Bengal and into a Cyclonic Storm during the subsequent 24 hours over southwest Bay of Bengal and adjoining Equatorial Indian Ocean. It is very likely to move northwestwards along the east coast of Sri Lanka near north Tamil Nadu coast on April 30, 2019,” the IMD alert reads.

IMD’s Chennai regional director, S Balachandran said, “We are monitoring the system. Only on April 27 can we predict when and where the cyclone will make landfall.”

He also advised fishermen not to venture into the sea for the next week.

Though the IMD has not predicted the exact place where Cyclone Fani would make landfall, Nagapattinam-based private weather analyst Selva Kumar, who had correctly predicted that Cyclone Gaja will cross the shores between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam coasts in November last, has claimed that Cyclone Fani will cross the shore between Manamelkudi (Pudukottai district) and Adhirampattinam (Thanjavur district) coastal areas.

The weather tracking website Skymetweather.com has observed that the system may strengthen as a tropical storm on the evening of April 27 or on the morning of April 28.

“It is to be named Cyclone Fani. By this time, it would have reached Southwest Bay of Bengal, close to Sri Lanka. Gradually, it will arrive in close proximity of the North Tamil Nadu coast in the Southwest Bay of Bengal. Weather models are showing the tendency of the system to move north-northwestwards and re-curve thereafter,” the skymetweather.com said in its blog.

The weather forecast website has also predicted that it is already a slow-moving system. “If the system re-curves, it is likely to further make it slower. This means that the system may become more intense and spend more time in the proximity of the Tamil Nadu coast, resulting in good rains over the state, including Chennai for a prolonged period,” the prediction reads.

If the cyclone makes landfall, it will be the second one in the state within six months. Cyclone Gaja hit the state in November. In the cyclonic devastation, 63 people died and thousands of houses were damaged in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Pudukkottai districts.

With the IMD sending out a red alert, district administrations of Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Thiruvarur have advised fishermen not to venture into the sea for the next few days.

First Published: Apr 25, 2019 17:45 IST

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free



After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2018 01:26 IST

Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future. (ANI)

Forty three days after his arrest over allegedly insulting Odia sentiments and tradition in his tweets, Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future.

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him. Iyer-Mitra was hospitalised on Sunday following acute pain in his stomach.

Soon after his release, Abhijit will head to Chennai to meet his mother VS Chandralekha, Tamil Nadu’s first Woman collector and a close associate of Subramanian Swamy.

The withdrawal of the cases came after he petitioned to the Odisha chief secretary seeking withdrawal of sanction to prosecute him under Section 196 of the CrPC in the 2 cases citing lack of intent or malice. “In addition to my apology to the Odisha assembly, I have unreservedly and unconditionally apologized for my words and actions that may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha, the Chief Minister and any others,” he wrote. Last month, the Assembly pardoned him after he begged apology.

In September this year, Iyer-Mitra landed in a doghouse after he flew in a chopper with former BJD MP Baijayant Jay Panda over waters of Chilika lake. He became a collateral victim of fight between the CM and his bete noire Baijayant Panda, when he went to the Sun temple at Konark in Puri district and posted a video blog on Twitter in which he said the temple was a humple(a slang for sex). An FIR was lodged at Konark police station, but Iyer-Mitra managed to secure bail from a metropolitan court in Delhi in September.

However, his ordeal began when he passed some offensive remarks against MLAs of the State leading to breach of privilege motion. He landed in further trouble when a second FIR was lodged against him by a one Manoranjan Swain of Bhubaneswar over an year-old tweet of him ridiculing Odisha and Jagannath temple. In a tweet dated November 16, 2017, he wrote “Odisha was discovered by Bengali explorers, who called it “OriShala!!! And it was named Orissa”.

Iyer-Mitra was arrested and sent to judicial custody after being booked under sections 294, 295-A, 506, 500, 153-A of IPC and 67 IT Act on Sept 20 for allegedly making offensive remarks that could cause communal disturbances. Soon after he landed in jail, he stopped eating.

Though his arrest was condemned by several intellectuals as well as Amnesty India, the government did not move till his health deteriorated on Sunday leading to his hospitalisation.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 22:40 IST

How Tamil Nadu stayed peaceful after Jayalalithaa’s death


How Tamil Nadu stayed peaceful after Jayalalithaa’s death

INDIA Updated: Dec 08, 2016 00:49 IST

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times

Highlight Story

A security person places flowers at the burial place of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Chennai. (PTI Photo)

J Jayalalithaa’s legions of devotees had immolated themselves in her defence in the past but when their beloved Amma died on Monday night, they were strangely calm and disciplined in mourning.Her party, the AIADMK, said late on Wednesday that 77 people died of shock across Tamil Nadu following news that their resilient Amma couldn’t pull through after a cardiac arrest. It promised to pay Rs 300,000 each to the families of the deceased. Official reports put the death toll at nine till evening.

But whatever the number, it could have been a nightmare had Amma’s supporters behaved the way they did when she was arrested in September 2014 after a Bengaluru trial court convicted her of corruption in a disproportionate assets case. About 244 people died of shock or committed suicide then, while mobs ran riot.

“Police prepared very well … did barricading for crowd control, which was effective. They factored in every aspect of the situation, drawing from past experience and placed policemen and rapid action force (RAF) units wherever needed,” said R Natraj, an AIADMK legislator and a former director general of police.

Barring frayed tempers and minor scuffles, the state and its capital, Chennai, remained peaceful.

Thousands of mourners filed into the landmark Marina beach for a final salute at the grave of the 68-year-old former chief minister and matinee idol.

They wailed and beat their chests, but remained disciplined. The reasons are not far to seek.

The AIADMK leader’s prolonged illness since September, the month she was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, and her oscillating health gave the administration and the people enough time to prepare for the inevitable.

Since news about her health came out of Apollo Hospitals and the party in fits and starts, people were prepared for the eventuality, said psychologist Chitra Arvind of Manas, an NGO.

“Yes, it is difficult for her supporters to accept it. But there was no impulse for them to commit suicide, as was the case before.”

Even die-hard supporters were reconciled to the inescapable fate — this is a natural death, an act of god.

Read| Chennai gradually returns to normal after Jayalalithaa’s death

“Word went out to the party’s rank and file to maintain strict discipline as it was the greatest homage that they could pay to Amma … not to bring discredit to the party,” said C Ponnaian, an AIADMK spokesperson.

Pickets and preemptive action checked the outbreak of violence, while meticulous preparation helped manage a sea of crowd and VVIPs who turned up during Jayalalithaa’s burial on Tuesday.

Across Tamil Nadu, about 100,000 police personnel were deployed, their leaves cancelled. In Chennai, 10,000 rookie constables and 1,000 trainee sub-inspectors were on duty, supplementing the regular security set-up.

A police officer said the closure of state-run Tasmac liquor shops for three days helped too because there were fewer drunken brawls that could have escalated into mass violence.

Read| Not Amma to all: The other side of Jayalalithaa’s legacy

Jayalalithaa, India’s Colorful, Controversial State Leader, Dies


Jayalalithaa, India’s Colorful, Controversial State Leader, Dies

December 5, 2016 — 2:18 PM EST December 5, 2016 — 2:18 PM EST
  • She died close to midnight after a prolonged hospital stay
  • Made a determined journey from a starlet to chief minister

Jayaram Jayalalithaa, a popular movie star who rose to become one of India’s most powerful regional leaders, has died. She was 68.

She died at 11:30 p.m. local time on Monday at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu where she was chief minister, the hospital said in a statement. She was hospitalized on Sept. 22 to treat fever and dehydration, and died following a cardiac arrest on Dec. 4.

Jayaram Jayalalithaa

Photographer: M. Lakshman/AP Photo

The colorful and controversial politician had faced a series of high and lows. Her supporters said she steered Tamil Nadu to development and economic growth, making the state a base for companies including Dell Inc. and Hyundai Motor Co. Her critics said she established a personality cult, involved in corruption and indulged in extravagant expenditure.

“Our beloved leader, The Iron Lady of India, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, is no more,” her party said on its official Twitter account.

Jayalalithaa’s death could trigger public expressions of grief among her supporters, who in the past had shown devotion to their ‘Amma’ — ‘mother’ or ‘goddess’ in the local language — by painting her portrait in blood and walking on hot coals. Police blocked traffic on some roads in Chennai leading to the hospital where Jayalalithaa was hospitalized.

Starlet to CM

Like many politicians in southern India, Jayalalithaa used a past in the popular Tamil-language cinema and in particular her closeness to M.G. Ramachandran, a movie hero who founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, to build a political base.

Under her leadership, the AIADMK started several welfare programs to supply cheap food and medicines to the poor, all named after Jayalalithaa. She also led the party to greater influence, allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1998 to form a national government that collapsed after 13 months when she withdrew support.

“Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. Her “connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women and marginalized will always be a source of inspiration.”

The troughs and peaks continued. Jayalalithaa spent three weeks in prison on corruption charges in 2014 before a high court cleared her. After being physically attacked amid the state assembly in 1989, the Rock Hudson fan who considered green her lucky color became the first in decades to win consecutive terms in Tamil Nadu.

Her national ambitions, however, remained unfulfilled.