Regarded as the gateway to Mumbai, the elevation of Kalyan-Dombivli from the existing state of being a dormitory town to a smart city is key to the development of the suburban Mumbai. What the city administration has done so far and what it plans to do in the future is elaborated by Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation’s (KDMC) City Engineer, P G Kulkarni in a tête-à-tête with Kartik Sharma of Elets News Network (ENN)
Since the announcement of Kalyan-Dombivli as a smart city, how do you find your role evolving as City Engineer?
I am elated to learn about KalyanDombivli’s selection for the proposed 100 smart cities, which is aimed at improving citizen centric services. It may be noted that Kalyan-Dombivli has got immense potential, mainly because it is a historic city and has a lot of cultural relevance and being the entry point to Mumbai, I am very excited.
There are two kinds of infrastructure— physical and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Since 2002, we have been pioneering the cause of e-governance in the urban local body to take services to citizens’ doorsteps. Our projects and concepts have been emulated by many other cities and councils in Maharashtra. We have inherent capacity to go for IT solutions as mentioned in the smart city, either for pan solutions or area-specific solutions.
In the last five years we have executed about `1,000 crore projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). For the urban poor, we will build thousand odd tenements. In the municipal fund, we have the experience of developing two giant auditoriums with a capacity of 1,000. We also have the experience of building swimming pools, flyovers and road over bridges (ROBs) among many others. That underlines that KDMC is fully competent to execute projects laid down in the smart city plan.
Tier-II cities like Kalyan-Dombivli has a lot of challenges. How do you handle those challenges to fulfill the dream of becoming a smart city?
As far as technical field is concerned, there are challenges of congestion. The city is very congested. When it comes to growth and development, we have strengthened many utility services for the convenience of citizens. The city has a lot of problems for placing those utility services. But given our previous experiences, I am optimistic that we will overcome these hurdles effectively. The KDMC Commissioner is determined to remove backlog in projects on a priority basis.
Shri Pramod Kulkarni, City Engineer, Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC)
Kalyan-Dombivli is a dormitory town and we want to convert it into a self-sustainable and livable city. With the Government’s support, Kalyan-Dombivli will emerge as a smart city in next five years. When it comes to growth and development, we have strengthened many utility services
Solid waste management (SWM) is a huge challenge for any civic body at present. What are your plans to tackle SWM problems?
It is not exception to Kalyan-Dombivli alone, rather it’s a common challenge to almost all major cities which needs to be dealt effectively. There is hardly a city in India that has devised a permanent and sustainable solution to SWM. The density of population is more in Kalyan-Dombivli and coupled with the standard of living, it is generating more solid waste. The city is developing along the tracks of railways because of which we are planning for sectorial SWM. Earlier, we had only one place to dispose of municipal waste but now we have decided to set up four to five plants in different locations, which will bring down expenses on transportation.
What are your plans for tackling the issue of water management? How has it emerged as a challenge?
For Kalyan-Dombivli it is a massive issue, since it is situated on a creek. It is at a height of 4-5 metres from the mean sea level which makes it a flood prone zone. Under the schemes of the World Bank, we have constructed two-three big drainage. Under JNNURM scheme, we have built about 15 drains that have brought relief to us. We have adopted the same method to divert the storm water, so that it does not concentrate in the same drain.
What is the degree of viability of accomplishing smart city for Kalyan-Dombivli?
This city is a dormitory town and we want to convert it into a self-sustainable, livable and affordable city. People here are law abiding citizens and there is no problem in revenue collection.