Karnataka's tier II cities miss out on boom

Census data suggest Coimbatore, Surat and Pune experiencing massive growth

Karnataka's tier II cities miss out on boom

According to the latest paper on Census of India 2011(Urban agglomeration and cities - provisional population totals) released recently, Bangalore has been growing like never before, clocking one of the highest decadal growth rates among metros in the country. The total population in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), as per the 2011 Census, stands at 84.25 lakh, up from 57.01 lakh 10 years ago.

However, the true story lies in tier II cities in several states which have achieved very high population growth rates and are emerging as investment regions outside their state capitals.

For instance, Surat in Gujarat. In 10 years, the population of the city has gone up by 20 lakh or 71 per cent. The latest census reveals that the city’s population is 45.85 lakh, almost 20 lakh higher than the 2001 findings.

Expansion of the city limit and economic development due to its booming diamond and textile industries have played a major role in achieving this growth.

Pune in Maharashtra is another case in point. The once  centre of power of the Maratha Empire is emerging as a major economic hub and is slowly but steadily catching up with its big brother — Mumbai. The population is Pune as per the 2011 census is 50.49 lakh, up from 25.38 lakh just a decade ago. The city is emerging as a prominent location for information technology and manufacturing companies to expand.

Pune has the sixth largest metropolitan economy and the second highest per capita income in the country.

Karnataka, unfortunately, does not seem to have any such tier II boom cities. The state has now 26 cities with population of more than one lakh, but as per the census data not a single city has shown signs of emerging as a popular employment destination or economic hub.

Karnataka’s second largest city Hubli-Dharwad has added just 1.57 lakh to its population during the last decade. Bellary, with all its mining exports and related activities could witness a decadal growth rate of 22 per cent. The population of the city increased from 3.16 lakh in 2001 to 4.09 lakh in 2011.

Belgaum city, which was projected as the second capital of the State in the recent years, has witnessed a decline in its population by 18,000 in the last one decade.

Mangalore, which is considered as a commercial hub next only to Bangalore, has nothing to cheer when it comes to population growth. The port city’s population has come down from 5.38 lakh in 2001 to 4.84 lakh in 2011.

In sharp contrast, neighbouring Tamil Nadu has the city of Coimbatore. Riding on an infrastructural boom and growth in small scale industries, Coimbatore has emerged as one of the most industrialised towns of Tamil Nadu.

It has the highest GDP among the districts of Tamil Nadu, even ahead Chennai. The population in this city, also known as the ‘Manchester of South India’, increased from 14.46 lakh in 2001 to 21.51 lakh in 2011, registering a decadal growth of 32.77 per cent. 

For the record, Bangalore is the only city in Karnataka with a population of more than 10 lakh (one million) and that of Hubli- Dharwad is 9.43 lakh.

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