It’s a thought to ponder over that about six million lives are lost in India every year because of insanitary conditions, poor quality of water supply and lack of hygiene. The Smart City concept we are talking about is very easy to develop in a green field situation, which creates, if not world-class, at least satisfactory level of infrastructure. Roads, transportation, water supply, sewerage system – everything should become smart. But, what do we mean by smart? If there is a power supply, it should be available 24*7 and must be quality power. When we say that the water should be 24*7 available, it means it should be potable. And when we talk of bills, these should be paid online.
In a green field situation, we can develop smart cities, but the challenges are mostly unforeseen. We cannot even fathom the problems that the citizens are facing. There is immigration, creation of illegal colonies, unauthorised clubs, lack of sewerage facility, roads and social infrastructure and much more.
We have proposed Panjim city to the Government of India to be taken up as a Smart City in the first phase, because in any case it will qualify, as it is the State’s capital, a city on the coastline and a city of tourism importance. We are aiming to get some of the projects on PPP mode or on viability gap funding. The Ministry of Urban Development has already drafted a guideline, which is available on their website and will be finalised shortly. It will pave way for picking up the projects. The municipalities and cities will have to compete at the national level, as far as projects are concerned. And, once the project is finalised by the government, they will decide the mode of funding these.
We hope that the challenges which are faced by all of us in urban management are addressed, and the IT solutions will come to help solve many problems..