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Kalpana Pathak / Rediff

Mumbai, Jul 26: The urban infrastructure in the city and Delhi -- the little there is of it -- is in a mess. Well, now no less than Harvard University is planning a study into the infrastructure deficiencies of Mumbai, and the ecological problems, especially concerning river-side development, in Delhi.

Based on the study, the school will develop solutions to improve conditions in the two cities. It will also take up a study to develop housing for lower-income groups and to re-develop slums in other Indian cities.

This will be an independent initiative by the university. But the university could also tap into its 300-strong alumni base in India, which includes influential names like Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Sons, and Anand Mahindra, managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra.

These corporates could not only provide the university with financial assistance but also allow them to study their public-private partnership ventures.

The study will begin in March next year and the university will submit its recommendations to the respective state governments for implementation.

This will be Harvard University's second initiative concerning India in the past one-year. Last year, in March, Harvard Business School opened an India Research Centre in Bangalore, to develop case studies to train the global managers of tomorrow.

Early this year, Harvard's Graduate School of Design undertook a study of mill lands in the city, with a focus on their redevelopment.

"Today Harvard University is taking initiatives to come to India. It's a reflection of the sea-change in the outlook of American higher education institutes. This should be seen as an opportunity for both the government and private sector to get in to action and improve the situation in the country," says Dikshu C Kukeraja, a leading architect and president of the Harvard Club of India.

He has a point there.


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