CHANDIGARH – Indicating a big population shift to urban areas, Punjab has added at least 56 census towns, each with a minimum population of 5,000, to its list of cities during the past 10 years. The state has added at least four statutory towns to its list. These towns are run by local bodies such as municipal corporations/committees.
The total number of urban settlements in the stautory category has risen to 143.
More importantly, there has been a decline in the rural population of cities like Jalandhar (-0.91) per cent, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (-3.36 per cent) and Mohali (4.03 per cent).
Punjab is definitely the most urbanised state in the North barring Delhi and Chandigarh (Union Territory). Of Punjab’s total population of 27, 704,236, as many as 10,387,436 live in the urban areas. This works out to 37.49 per cent. The state’s urban population is almost equal to the combined urban population of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
Dr Pramod Kumar, who is Director of the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC), said: “The population shift indicates the changing life habits in the region. Where once five members of a family were engaged in agriculture earlier, just two do the job today. This development, in fact, is a telling comment on the so-called progress made by the state”.