34,000 Villages Deserted, Suburbanization Major Problem

34,000 Villages Deserted, Suburbanization Major Problem34,000 Villages Deserted, Suburbanization Major Problem

With large-scale migration from rural areas to city suburbs, 34,000 villages have been deserted and ‘suburbanization’ is now a major problem in the country, said first vice-president for rural development and deprived areas, Abolfazl Razavi.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the two-day 2nd International Conference on Rural Development in Mashhad, he said “whenever the issue of providing infrastructure to a village is brought up and the government is determined to provide facilities and services, it faces strong opposition from the residents (who oppose change), while if the same village is ignored, it is abandoned soon after,” he noted.

The government has been forced to redirect its attention from rural development to suburbanization as it is posing serious problems, he said, adding that the battle against the phenomenon “necessitates raising the economic status of village dwellers.”

Stressing that “the government of prudence and hope” is paying more attention than any previous government to rural development, Razavi said 1500 billion rials and 3500 billion rials have been allocated to rural development in the budget plans of the current and next year, starting March 21, respectively. The National Development Fund (NDFI) has been assigned to provide funding for the development of villages.

  Water Supply

In next year’s budget plan, 4000 billion rials has been earmarked for water-supply projects in rural areas, with the amount allocated to rural improvement and road construction experiencing a 20% increase year on year.

The concept of villages should be redefined to be considered as a cultural system rich in national heritage, rather than a mere place of rural residence. This way, “rural areas can follow a continued, balanced, self-productive, and engaging process of development.” Razavi stressed that a distinction should be made between development and developmental services, saying that attention has so far been focused solely on the latter, while the considerable potentials of village role in fostering national development has been disregarded.

Rural sustainable development is a distinguishing characteristic of developed countries and “development should be straight and forward.”