Urbanization or The Slum Problem Essay

There is a continuous flow of people into cities from the villages. This is particularly true of big cities. Cities like Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi are among the highest density cities. They have actually become hives overcrowding with human beings.

Large-scale urbanization leads to several complications in cities. Civic amenities fall short of needs. Law and order problem becomes worse. Prices of essential commodities shoot up. Most important of all, the housing problem becomes acute. The house-rents go very high. Middle-class people find it difficult to afford the high rents. The lower-income groups find it impossible to live in comfortable houses. The outcome of this is slums in cities. They become widespread and are to be found in almost all parts of the cities. Many a time, these slums come up right under the shadows of posh palaces and multi-storeyed buildings.

Several factors are responsible for people rushing to cities. The first and foremost is the population explosion. Because of the increased population, the area of arable land has become inadequate. It can no longer feed all the inhabitants in the villages. All villagers are not landowners. Earlier, a large majority used to survive as agricultural labor. As their number has increased, not all of them are needed as agricultural labor. So, they leave for the neighboring cities in search of work. Most of them find work in the cities as unskilled laborers. Their women also join them. Many of them get work as construction workers or get jobs as house-maids. They somehow find a means of survival. This section of the population begins by sleeping on the pavements. Then gradually they build shelters for themselves in hovels. These hovels become regular shelters after some time.

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Industrialization and technological progress are also responsible for increasing urbanization. More and more large-scale and small-scale industries are set up in and around cities and their number always increases. They need a large labor force which comes from the neighboring villages. An opportunity to get a regular job in a factory with a regular income is welcomed by landless workers. They find these jobs profitable and readily leave their homes. Over the years, they call their relatives and friends to get jobs in the factories. With the result, the cities expand.

The village young folks are getting increased opportunities for education. Their attitude to agriculture as a source of livelihood has changed. These young men do not want to continue with the vocation of their forefathers. After acquiring a graduation degree, they regard agriculture as below their dignity. So, they also rush to cities to seek jobs as clerks. The city population goes up and the city has to expand. Slowly, the surrounding villages get absorbed in the cities and are urbanized. Among other factors, the lure of the city, the glamour of the multi-storeyed buildings and the hustle and bustle of the city also attract some villagers. They come to cities with the intention of sharing the thrills of city life. Having come to the city they get disillusioned. They have to live in unhygienic slums. They, sometimes, curse their stars for having left their village homes but by then it is too late and they can not return to their village. They become part of the large crowds in the cities. All these factors, over the years, have led to increasing urbanization. Slums have become regular features of the cities. These slums lack even the basic necessities of life — fresh drinking water, electricity, public amenities. There is slush all round because of open drains.

The Central Government has been conscious of the sad condition of the slum-dwellers. However, it will not be an easy task to abolish the slums from the face of cities altogether. The present slum-dwellers are given alternative accommodation. But more people keep on pouring into the cities. So long as poverty and unemployment in villages persist, the unemployed landless labourers will continue to run to cities.

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