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As per census 2011 the urban population of state of Uttarakhand is 30.5 Lakh including cantonments & census towns. The overall urbanisation rate, which is around 30.2%, of Uttarakhand is comparable with the national average of 31.2%. The population growth rate varies across districts and urban areas. However, it is noteworthy that average annual urban growth rate of 4.0% is much high compared to rural growth rate 1.2% of the state.
Urban population of the state is mainly concentrated in bigger towns of Dehradun (5.75 Lakh), Haridwar (2.31 Lakh) and the towns located in agriculturally rich and industrially developed southern part of the state e.g. Rudrapur, Roorkee, Kashipur & Haldwani. However, one may like to visualise the fact that Dehradun, which is state capital and centre of policy making, has experienced drastic enhancement in its urban population. It has grown with an average annual growth rate of over 4% in the last decade i.e. between the Census-2001 and Census-2011.
Apart from the resident urban population, Uttarakhand has number of tourist destinations and places of pilgrimage e.g. Mussoorie, Nainital, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Hamkund Sahib, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Piran Kaliar etc. Consequently, a large number of tourists and pilgrims ply throughout the year. As per figures from the Tourism Department nearly 311.08 Lakh and 268.09 Lakh tourists visited Uttarakhand in the year 2010 and 2011 respectively. These figures, which are nearly 3-times of the whole population of the state itself, are enough to reflect the ‘tourist load’ on urban infrastructure and urban services
Being a hilly state, most of the urban local bodies are located in the remote hilly area of the state. That is why, Urban Development Planning is a challenging task in the state, and different strategies are required to meet requirements of residents as well as to cater needs of tourists and pilgrims. The topography and geographical features of the state are additional challenges for planners. The effective urban planning and development also gets constrained due to the complex institutional arrangements and multiplicity of organisations in the state. more..