August 2017

Dehradun’s Tryst with Smart Cities Mission

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Ravneet Cheema
Commissioner
Dehradun Municipal Corporation

Dehradun has been facing rapid urbanisation for last few years, and the Smart Cities Mission will help in making the valley citizen-friendly, sustainable and a refreshingly beautiful city in the times to come. Smart Cities Mission would help in providing us the required thrust, says Ravneet Cheema, Commissioner, Dehradun Municipal Corporation, in conversation with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN). Excerpts:

“The Solid Waste Management Plant coming up at Sheeshambara will turn waste into compost, has a capacity of 300 metric tonnes per day and will be functional from October, 2017.”

Give us an overview of Dehradun Municipal Corporation.

Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) is spread over an area of 65.5 sq km with an approximate population of 10 lakhs. It has 60 Wards. The waste generation ranges from 250-300 metric tonnes per day. Surrounded by mountains, Dehradun, the largest city of Uttarakhand, is famous for its scenic beauty. In fact, the corporation area is rapidly increasing due to suburbs, posing a major challenge for waste collection. DMC is committed to provide cleanliness and other related facilities to citizens. It’s using the latest techniques to minimise human intervention, and using modern technology to ensure that DMC delivers according to its full potential. Being the capital of the State of Uttarakhand, Dehradun is always bustling with activities and ever increasing inflow of tourists and other people. We try our best to ensure visitors or tourists take along wonderful memories of the Dun valley.

How is Dehradun leveraging Smart Cities Mission to bring urban transformation?

Dehradun has been facing rapid urbanisation for last few years, and Smart City Mission will help in making our valley citizen-friendly sustainable and a refreshingly beautiful city in the times to come. The Smart Cities Mission would help in providing us the required thrust; be it smart ATM’s, green buildings, smart poles etc. overall a very smart city for smart Doonites is on the way. A major impediment in implementing new things is usually funds and the Smart Cities Mission would help clearing that. We are open to new ideas and smart solutions exposure of the mission will definitely help us in achieving targets.

Be it GIS mapping, LED streetlighting or Waste Management, the DMC appears to have undertaken some impressive and effective steps for urban transformation, can you throw some light on the endeavour?

DMC has around 42,000 streetlights, all of which were sodium lights. However, we’ve signed MoU with EESL (A Govt. Of India PSU) wherein they will change all these into LED lights thereby saving energy by over half of which was used before. A centralised control panel would also be installed for easy monitoring-since earlier we found instances of some of the lights remaining on during the day and a lot of complaints regarding electricity supply. The maintenance would be taken care of by the company itself. We would be saving the cost under salary wages and repair maintenance annually.

DMC has installed GPS in all of its waste management vehicles. It has made it quite easy for us to monitor the route of each vehicle; speed and stoppages, through geo-fencing. If the vehicle goes out of boundaries of DMC limits, we get notification about it as well. The Solid Waste Management Plant coming up at Sheeshambara will turn waste into compost, has a capacity of 300 metric tonnes per day and will be functional from October, 2017.

We have also launched Swachh Dehradun app through which we are ensuring citizen participation wherein citizens can click photographs of the garbage dump and send it on the app through which it will be sent to the concerned sanitary inspectors for necessary action. A Swachta (cleanliness) song is also played on the local radio to educate general public regarding various aspects. We have also distributed blue and green dustbins among our staff to segregate bio-degradable and nonbiodegradable waste at source.

DMC has also identified vacant plots of land for ensuring green space in the city with a high plantation target.

Fifty-four garbage vulnerable points have been identified so that, according to the requirement, a dumpster can be kept and littering and uncomfortable sights could be avoided.

DMC has started Animal Birth Control/ Anti Rabies programme on November 16. DMC has sterilised almost 6,000 stray dogs through its ABC/ARV programme. Our target is to carry out 8,000 sterilizations in a year to put a check on the rapidly rising stray dogs’ population.

What challenges do you face as a Municipal Administrator?

People live with a particular mindset for years. If some changes are brought, there are resistances; first and foremost due to lack of public awareness, motivation, lack of sufficient knowledge on benefits of segregation. The public has to be made aware that garbage should be dumped or transferred in dustbins rather than thrown at the space adjacent to it and also that it is no more ‘waste’ but the ‘new wealth’.

Can you shed some light on the kind of plans the DMC has near future?

Door-to-door collection and transfer stations are on the way for PPP mode. GIS mapping of properties and PPP collection of property tax is in the pipeline. Night sweeping and garbage disposal will bring significant changes in the overall cleanliness of the city.

Another important aspect of sustainable growth is decentralised waste management. We are going to involve all the bulk generators who are the stakeholders for coming up with composting bio-degradable wastes on sites and handing over nonbiodegradable waste to DMC workers. We also plan to rope in individual households for composting of biodegradable wastes. DMC also plans to introduce a more mechanised and modern way of garbage liftng, so that the drudgery manual of lifting garbage is brought to some minimum level. We are also planning to buy smart dustbins through which we will monitor if they need to be cleaned or not. Sweep machines and drain cleaning machines would be shortly added to the fleet of DMC. And, of course, we are going to give a lot of emphasis on source segregation. We have already started the drive by distributing green and blue dustbins to our staff.

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