Yesterday, I was catching up with my friend from Belgium. He had come to IIM Calcutta during the student exchange program. He recently visited China and had an interesting story to tell – about China’s development, infrastructure and huge hunger to become world’s Number 1 in all aspects of life.
He had visited Shanghai, perhaps China’s most beautiful city. According to him, the airport at Shanghai is easily among the top 10 airports in the world. Extremely well maintained, huge in size, very busy, ultramodern were some of the epithets he used to describe the Shanghai airport.
He narrated his experience at Shanghai and compared it to Calcutta and Mumbai. He told me that the road to city center was straight, unobstructed. He was in the city center in 45 minutes from the airport. The cabbie took exact money from him and did not haggle for more, a practice very frequently seen among Indian cabbies. Tours were well conducted, photos of Shanghai were mind blowing. Generally it was a memorable experience.
Then during our conversation, I asked him, how can the road from Airport to Shanghai city center be straight? Can you imagine the number of people ruthlessly displaced in order to achieve this? This put him in contemplation mode. He remembered London, Brussels, Mumbai, Calcutta and never remembered a straight road from city center to airport. Then he started thinking about how approaches taken by China and India are hugely different. Some quotes from him are as follows:
India has a democratic approach to development, and hence the pace of development is slow. China looks extremely glamorous and ultramodern on the face, but no one knows and will know the price Chinese paid for such ruthless march towards modernisation.
However, all said and done, India should think about China’s ruthless pace of development. India should try and optimise the pace of development and try and reduce the red-tapism in the government procedures. There are lessons to be learnt for India from China’s development model, perhaps a detailed case study about city planning can be useful for the architects of SEZs coming up in various parts of India. Any comments about this? Please let me know.
Until next time, Keep ‘strat.in’-g!