My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—I had the pleasure yesterday afternoon of having a brief visit with Mr. Sudhir Ghosh, who is visiting the United States from India.

The State Department invited him because of the interest, I understand, which Senator Owen Brewster of Maine took in the project he is developing in Faridabad. This project eventually will set up a new town in an area that is at present not populated but which will serve as a center for a large number of villages stretching out into the country all around.

Having the opportunity to build a town from scratch is really quite an exciting project, but there are many difficulties attendant upon this particular opportunity. Water has to be found and provided, and since it is to be a modern town it must be clean water, which is rare in India. A hospital must be built. The inhabitants of the town must put in a great deal of their own labor on this project, since it will be quite extraordinary if the government can find enough money, even through international cooperation, to provide the materials for building the hospital.

The same holds good of the schools, which must be built in different parts of the town and for different ages of children.

In planning the establishment of a new town there must be a sufficient number of industries in the area to provide work for the townspeople. Here some of the most difficult problems will arise because there probably will be a greater production of particular goods than can be consumed within the town itself. Then the problem of marketing comes up. Or perhaps the products will not be salable to the village people for whom the town will be a center. Industries contemplating moving in will go into all the problems of transportation to their markets and into the means for bringing in their raw materials.

The cooperatives already have been started in the Faridabad project and probably will be successful. As a rule, the products of the cooperatives can be largely consumed within the neighborhood and transportation is not an important factor. But for many of the larger industries it is a real factor in getting them to locate in any area. I am familiar with these problems because we covered them all in the days of homestead projects following the depression.

There is another factor which for a few years, at least, will be important. When you move a number of people into a new area something has to make them become a community. In many such areas the school has been the centralizing influence that has brought different elements together and welded them into community life. But you have to provide some dynamic personalities to help this come about, and it is not always easy to find such people.

One gets the impression from Mr. Ghosh, however, that he understands his problems and knows how to meet them, and if you should meet him you will wish him, as I do, every success.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL