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12 FE Special: Small Town India w w w. f i n a n c i a l e x p re s s .

c o m Thursday, May 13, 2010, New Delhi


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FE travels to four small towns in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to gauge how the middle ground between the urban and rural is changing
ChanpreetKhurana puter store and an Internet café. Sorat,

4 5 whohasstudiedcomputerapplications
HERE IS a distinct note of in Bhopal, has no regrets about coming
pride in Mahesh Kumar's back to a quieter life in Hodal. “We get
words as he takes visitors 10-15 people at the café per day, and the
aroundanewmeatprocess- computer store sells eight to ten assem-
ing plant at Dasna, in bledmachinesamonth,”hesays.There
Ghaziabad district. The de facto man- is a new crop of computer institutes,
ager of Eagle Continental Foods has English language training schools and
good reason to be smug. Imported ma- mobile repairing classes in the town
chinery for the slaughter house, which too. Tinu Computer Centre, for exam-
has a capacity of 400 buffaloes and 200 ple,teachesMicrosoftOfficeandcheck-
sheep and goats; an effluent treatment inge-mail.
plant that can treat up to 200 kilolitres
per hour; a unit that generates employ- High aspirations
mentforatleast450people;anexportor- There is a quieter and, perhaps, more
der from Algeria, and a government impressive change underway at very
grant of Rs 50 lakh to set up the plant— small peri-urban locations—that of
all have ensured that the unit is off to a lation density are forcing industry to 1.Thelocallink:A kirana shopinHassanpur,Haryana,sellslocalproduce agency Jai Shiv Tractors sells an aver- high aspirations. A little off Hopur
goodstart. spiral outward like ink on a blotting pa- 2.&3.Co-existence: HodalinHaryanaboastsofcomputerstoresandcybercafes,likethis age of 10-12 tractors a month to cus- road in Ghaziabad, in a town called Ni-
The plant is just one of the catalysts per.Whatwasstrictlyoutof limitabout oneownedbyBolySorat,buttheoldwayoflifeexiststoo tomersfromsome38adjoiningvillages. wari, the local panchayat has dug into
for change in Dasna, a medium-sized, 20 years ago is now very much part of a 4.Skyisthelimit:AsolarpanelpowersstreetlightsinNiwari,UttarPradesh Choices in consumer goods, too, its own pockets to set up solar street-
peri-urban town of 24,428 residents big city. A perfect example of how a 5.Entrepreneurship:AmeatprocessingunitinDasna,UP,bringsprosperitytothearea have become more varied, says Chan- lights. “It was a community decision
(Census 2001). The National Highway- metro grows to swallow suburban lo- dra. “We had a Kelvinator refrigerator and we invited tenders for setting up so-
24thatdividesthetownhasalsodecided cales is the National Capital Region for 20 years, but now we are spoilt for lar lamps,” says Sunil Tyagi, a local
the tone of development. While on one aroundDelhi. sewage,”heexplains.Urbansymptoms tres. Commission agents, shopkeepers choice. There's Whirlpool, LG, Sam- politician. Nearby Patla town, too, is
side exists the old town, the opposite Asaresult,theencroachmentof rur- like migration are also seeping in the and rice mill owners form the creamier sung and more available in the local transformingasdevelopmentinGhazi-
side fringes on the modern, with its al areas is irrevocably changing the small town. The new part is attracting layerof thissociety.Thelowerstratain- market,” he says, adding that some peo- abad city spills over to surrounding ar-
meat processing factory and plywood character of these places. As city skilled labour for the new industry. The cludesworkersandmigrantlabour. pleevenhavetworefrigeratorsathome. eas. Overall loans have gone up 40% in
units. dwellers move to these locations, they Eagle foods plant, for instance, uses In Hodal, a large town of around Chandra has one LG 185-litre refrigera- thelastyearatthelocalPunjabandSind
Census 2011 will update the popula- take with them their lifestyle and aspi- labourfromKeralaandBihar. 98,000, agri-input stores such as those tor. Most stores, however, stock small Bank branch, which boasts of upwards
tion figures forDasnaonly by February rations. Improvement in ways and selling tractors, seeds and fertilisers sizeandlow-rangeproducts. of 10,000savingaccounts.Zonalmanag-
next year, but the character of the place meansof travelhasalsohadaneffecton
A new way of life jostle for space with cement and other The wave of change is engulfing the er SP Singh says seven education loans
hasalreadyalteredtoaccommodatethe the two-way traffic between urban cen- With the unique vantage of proximity construction material. Here, new busi- new generation also. Brijpal Rati Ram, worth Rs 15 lakh have been sanctioned
changing aspirations of its residents tres and non-urban locations. So, Das- to both rural and urban centres, peri- nesses such as an Internet café, insti- a trader in Hodal, says while his mobile over the past two years, of which Rs 9
and the new influences that settlers na, a short 40 km from Ghaziabad city, urbantownsaffordaglimpseattheway tutes of learning, mobile repair and is used predominently for business, his lakh has already been disbursed. “The
from across the country bring with has already begun to absorb urban in- urbanisationisseepingintonon-urban computers,havealso sprungup. son burns up an Rs-400 recharge coming up of professional institutes in
them.Thoselookingattradeandindus- fluences.Localresidentstraveltomalls settings.Theycrystallise,inaway,adif- Subhash Chandra of Hodal, who coupon in a month just chatting with Ghaziabad has stoked the desire for
try will also have to redraft plans and and cinema halls in Ghaziabad on ficult thing to measure—the pace and owns a tractor franchise for Massey friends. What’s more, none of his four higher education among the locals,” he
adopt a fresh approach for this town, a weekends, and Delhi is within 100 km direction of change. Predominantly Fergusson,usesafoodmetaphortocap- sons wish to join his commission trad- says. Priorities have changed too. Top-
middle ground between reach. At the Dasna nagar panchayat, trading towns such as Hodal in ture the flux in Hodal society in the past ing business. Two of them have already most on the wishlist for traders in Has-
urbancentresandruralmarkets. DineshKumarKaushikhasanotherde- Haryana's Faridabad district, for in- few years. “We used to eat oatmeal be- moved to cities for higher education sanpur town of Haryana is a bridge
scriptor to fit the town. “It's rurban,” he stance, continue to play the part of both fore,andnowwefeastonricepudding,” andemployment. over the Yamuna. “A bridge will help
Spreading out says.“Itisaruralstrip,buthasurbanfa- transmitter of goods and values and a hesays. A few feet away, quite like Nehru boost trade,” says local trader Kishore
Congested urban areas with high popu- cilities such as water, power and buffer between rural and urban cen- BusinessisgoodforChandratoo.His Place in Delhi, Boly Sorat runs a com- Kumar.


A micro look
Major state-wise peri-urban market per capita income and their composition
State Per capita No. of very No. of No. of medium No. of large
income (Rs pa) small towns small towns sized towns towns
Haryana 83,462 11 20 30 25 Above
all-India median
Gujarat 77,279 37 37 62 79
Rs 58,984
Maharashtra 63,274 56 72 90 120
Punjab 61,048 30 37 40 36
West Bengal 59,356 169 53 46 53
Andhra Pradesh 58,160 24 22 30 87 Below
all-India median
The top 10 Tamil Nadu 56,796 184 261 207 154
Rs 58,984
Orissa 54,420 29 33 32 35
Top 10 peri-urban millionaire districts, 2009-10
Karnataka 49,180 40 27 83 78
No of households
State District earning > Rs 10 lakh Rajasthan 47,137 24 37 76 66
Gujarat Ahmedabad 20,000 Madhya Pradesh 34,513 92 125 86 66
Gujarat Valsad 16,600 Uttar Pradesh 33,099 130 201 188 131
Tamil Nadu Coimbatore 14,700 Bihar 29,519 6 11 42 52
Tamil Nadu Kancheepuram 13,700
Tamil Nadu Vellore 13,600 Market skyline
Goa North Goa 12,500 Major state-wise peri-urban market size (in Rs crore)
Kerala Ernakulam 11,900 Total household Total household
Maharashtra Pune 11,800 State expenditure State expenditure
Maharashtra Ahmednagar 11,400 Tamil Nadu 87,200 Rajasthan 23,700
Maharashtra Thane 11,200 Maharashtra 51,700 Madhya Pradesh 23,500
Uttar Pradesh 42,800
Punjab 19,500
Gujarat 40,600
Haryana 15,300
Andhra Pradesh 29,000
Source: The Market Skyline of India Urban, West Bengal 28,500 Orissa 14,500
Peri-urban & Rural Markets 2009-10; Indicus
Analytics (www.indicus.net) Karnataka 26,700 Bihar 9,870

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