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Peri-Urban Governance

Small towns and peri-urban areas always display the features of both rural and urban communities, but with a higher population density than rural communities. Social relationships are based on the caste and kinship system. There is generally more political tension between the different sections of the population than in rural areas. Peri-urban areas normally have their own panchayat, which is mostly ill-equipped to deal with the aspirations of the community, and governance is marred by nepotism and partisan politics. These areas suffer from apathy and, since they have not been accorded urban civic status by the government but are still classed as rural villages, they lack adequate services such as a proper water supply, sanitation, garbage collection and disposal, street cleaning and lighting.  The majority of the workforce in these areas travels daily to the nearby city

or further afield for labouring or semi-skilled work, or is involved in semi-skilled occupations locally.

Seva Mandir has been working with one such peri-urban settlement, Delwara, for about 15 years, and has recently begun work with another, Kelwara. The challenges faced by these two areas are different in many ways from those in the rural areas with which the organisation does most of its work, and require somewhat different solutions.

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