Constraints to the development of Chuka town to a growth centre
In Kenya; like in many other developing countries the growth centre strategy has been adopted to foster development,with particular emphasis on the rural sector. The principle underlying the policy is the belief that using the growth centre strategy, the distribution of national resources is made efficient and more equitable. The development of the rural areas is thus kept abreast with the more rapid development of the urban areas. The overall development of the country could be realized through the inter-dependence between the two Rural and urban) sectors; Doth forming integral parts of the national monetary economy. The development of growth centres faces various setbacks, most of which stem from urbanization. Difficulties such as inadequate sanitary conditions, uncontrolled settlements, and general maladministration of land use are thus caused. Other problems relate to the unconducive physical environment around the centre and insufficiency of funds for general and \ physical development of the upcoming urban places. The field survey was conducted to identify factors that do or may inhibit Chuka from performing the functions of a growth centre viz. population interception; incubator of (small scale) industry, market for local produce, distribution point for farm inputs and tapping of unexploited development potential of the surrounding areas. For this purpose, investigations were launched 0:1 the physical, socio-economic, and infrastructural conditions of both the town and its hinterland. It is found that Chuka is not so far "eligible" growth centre status. Although it is favored by its administrative potential, high agricultural potential of its hinterland, accessibility and proximity to population concentration, it fails In many other aspects. The town has, a weak economic base, a result of lack of diversified economy and employment, It also heavily lacks in infrastructural provision, besides having a weak linkage with its' hinterland. In view of these (among many) short comings, , Chuka is not a viable growth centre for the present and within the near future. It thus will have to remain an urban service centre until it attains growth centre attributes. Recommendations have been made that are expected to improve the conditions and for the development of the town to the desired standards. Such measures as avoiding difficult areas (e.g. steep slopes and marshes) in the future development, provision of adequate infrastructure and social amenities have been proposed. Promotion of the economic base of the town and the hinterland has also been suggested. Finally, proposals have been made to serve as a guide to the future planning of the town in a long term perspective but programmed in short term phases.