Tech-en­abled, smart and live­able

What does it mean to have Chandi­garh on the fast track list of 13 towns to be de­vel­oped as smart city?

HT Estates - - NEWS - Mu­niesh­wer A Sa­gar

Chandi­garh, last month, was in­cluded in the fast track list of 13 towns that will be de­vel­oped as smart cities. Es­ti­mated to cost around ₹ 6,200 crore, the smart city mis­sion aims to sub­stan­tially im­prove “liv­abil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of the city. Pub­lic IT (in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy) so­lu­tions are a ma­jor part of the mis­sion,” says Baldeo Pu­rushartha, mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner, Chandi­garh mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion and CEO (chief executive of­fi­cer) of Chandi­garh Smart City Ltd.

Chandi­garh Smart City

The mis­sion fo­cuses on Are­abased De­vel­op­ment (ABD) and pan- city de­vel­op­ment plan. “In­cluded in the area- based pro­posal, sec­tors 17, 22, 35 and 43 will be de­vel­oped as smart sec­tors. Pan-city pro­posal aims at im­prov­ing pub­lic life and safety, liv­abil­ity, smart and in­te­grated e-gov­er­nance,” says Pu­rushartha.

Ve­hi­cle- free zones will be cre­ated in the in­ter­nal ar­eas of Sec­tor 17. Res­i­dents can ex­pect round-the-clock drink­ing wa­ter sup­ply, ter­tiary wa­ter sup­ply, smart me­ter­ing for power, wa­ter con­sumers; uni­fied por­tal to ac­cess ser­vices with a per­son­alised pro­file-based mo­bile app which will act as one-stop app and gate­way to en­able two-way ci­ti­zen en­gage­ment. Jan Marg, one of the cen­tral life­lines of the city, will be pedes­tri­anised on week­ends – art fairs, yoga ses­sions, sports and street shows will be or­gan­ised here and food stalls set up.

Proper sig­nage, way-find­ing, pub­lic bike shar­ing, smart sig­nalling and traf­fic sur­veil­lance sys­tems will be set up. There will be ITS ap­pli­ca­tion in pub­lic trans­port, in­clud­ing smart tick­et­ing, ve­hi­cle track­ing and pas­sen­ger in­for­ma­tion sys­tem; smart on-street park­ing, side­walk im­prove­ments – ac­ces­si­ble side­walks for dif­fer­ently abled and com­pre­hen­sive bi­cy­cle net­work, etc.

“The plan also in­cludes in­tel­li­gent multi- nodal com­mand and con­trol cen­tre to con­trol wa­ter, po­lice, fire sys­tems, health, dis­as­ter man­age­ment and traf­fic; more e-rick­shaws re­plac­ing older diesel/ petrol rick­shaws, elec­tric buses and bat­tery-op­er­ated buses, ur­ban de­sign of pub­lic plazas, space for ac­tive recre­ation for arts, cul­ture, bazaars and food courts; in­stal­la­tion of so­lar-based LED street­lights along with in­stal­la­tion of new light poles along streets and pub­lic parks; and so­lar power plants on rooftops,” says Pu­rushartha.

Both ABD and pan-city de­vel­op­ment projects are to be com­pleted within a pe­riod of two years, in­forms Pu­rushartha.

Plan cost and fund­ing

The to­tal cost of the pro­ject is es­ti­mated to be around ₹ 6,200 crore with ₹ 250 crore for the pan city pro­posal and ₹ 5,950 crore for area-based de­vel­op­ment.

“Funds for the smart city will be made avail­able from the con­ver­gence of other Cen­tral schemes while some of the projects will be funded through the private sec­tor. The fund­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion process will de­pend on the in­di­vid­ual pro­ject; dif­fer­ent fi­nan­cial and im­ple­men­ta­tion struc­tures and in­stru­ments will be em­ployed based on the needs of spe­cific projects under the plan. Joint ven­ture ( JV), pub­lic- private part­ner­ship (PPP), private fund­ing, and gov­ern­ment spon­sor­ship will all be em­ployed as per the pro­ject re­quire­ment,” says Pu­rushartha.

Ba­sic frame­work for SPV con­sti­tuted

Pari­mal Rai, UT ad­viser, is the chair­man of the SPV (Chandi­garh Smart City Ltd), a lim­ited com­pany. Pu­rushartha, mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner, is the Chief Executive Of­fi­cer (CEO) of the SPV. To­tal equity of ₹ 1,000 crore will be in­vested by mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion. The ap­point­ments are to be cleared by the min­istry of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment (MoUD).

Miss­ing el­e­ments

In the city nearly 50% of the pop­u­la­tion lives in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion, and af­ford­able house ownership is a peren­nial is­sue. The MoUD also lists “Hous­ing and in­clu­sive­ness - ex­pand hous­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for all” as a smart city fea­ture. How­ever, no plans have been made for Chandi­garh Smart City Plan does not in­clude the plan for in­creased hous­ing op­por­tuni- ties, par­tic­u­larly for the poor. “No, hous­ing isn’t in­cluded in the ADP or pan- city de­vel­op­ment plan,” says Pu­rushartha.

More bureaucracy, less peo­ple

Cen­tral­i­sa­tion of the city’s de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive with the SPV might push the lo­cal cit­i­zens and their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to be de­ci­sion mak­ers, while bring­ing in the bureaucracy, par­tic­u­larly the IAS of­fi­cers, at the core of all de­ci­sion mak­ing.

Al­lay­ing fears of the SPV be­com­ing a new apex body su­pe­rior to other city de­part­ments, Pu­rushartha says, “It will stream­line the plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion process. The SPV is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor. Par­tic­i­pa­tion and role of other de­part­ments will not be di­min­ished.”

Claim­ing that the SPV and smart city mis­sion will im­prove the plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion at the city level, ar­chi­tect Surinder Bahga, nom­i­nated mu­nic­i­pal coun­cilor and chair­man Saakaar Foun­da­tion, says, “Smart city mis­sion will dras­ti­cally im­prove the co­or­di­na­tion at the city level.”

KARUN SHARMA

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