Udaipur is among the most beautiful cities of India. It’s quite popular among tourists for its attractive and amazing places, natural beauty and cultural heritage. This is one of the most important segments where the municipal corporation wants to focus while developing the city, says Sidharth Sihag, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Udaipur, and CEO, Udaipur Smart City Limited, in conversation with Kartik Sharma and Harshal Y Desai of Elets News Network (ENN).
“We organise lake festival annually, educating people on water conservation and other significant elements related to lake protection. De-weeding machine has been purchased to keep the lake free from water hyacinth and other weeds.”
What is your vision for Udaipur? How are you planning to implement Smart City projects in the city?
We are going to develop the infrastructure in such a way that it benefits the citizens as well as the tourists. We are also working towards 24X7 water supply and to increase the share of renewable energy from current three-four per cent to around 15 per cent. We’ve huge plans to develop infrastructure for supplying electricity by building network for underground cables. It will enable us to protect the beauty of heritage structures in the city and at the same time increase the electricity supply.
To strengthen the transportation in the city, we’ve plans to build adequate parking spaces and already encouraging e-rickshaws’ usage. Further, we are planning to streamline the public transportation system. So, steadily we are moving towards making Udaipur a Smart City.
How are you streamlining the sewage management systems and making the city of Udaipur Open Defecation Free?
Sewage management is another component we are working to improve. We have already started door-to-door collection of waste on a full scale. Udaipur has already been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) city – the first city in Rajasthan to achieve this milestone.
The ODF campaign is one of the most ambitious projects of the Government of India. In the last few months, we’ve significantly increased our capacities to build public toilets for the common man. We cannot tolerate open defecation in a tourist city like Udaipur. Besides building the infrastructure, we are running several campaigns on making people aware about the harmful effects of open defeaction.
How are you making use of the Information Technology to make Udaipur smart?
Technology is indeed a great enabler and it is the basis of all the development projects in the city. Be it developing surveillance systems, integrated traffic management system, or monitoring criminal activities around the city. We have huge plans to develop robust surveillance systems. We have chosen the position of cameras in such a way that we can track people who are littering the lakes. Through this monitoring, we will also track the status of dustbins.
“We have huge plans to develop robust surveillance systems. We have chosen the position of cameras in such a way that we can track people who are littering the lakes. Through this monitoring, we will also track the status of dustbins.”
How are you planning to beautify the lakes of Udaipur?
We are ensuring that no wastewater is dumped in lakes. There are cash rewards for information on people and industries polluting lakes and notices for the same have been put along the lakeside.
We are going to use solar energy to power the boats so that lakes are not polluted due to the discharge of petrol or diesel. Solar energy-empowered water taxis are going to be launched soon in Udaipur. It will boost tourism, saving revenue.
Jetties have already been constructed at Swaroop Sagar and two more have been proposed-one at Swaroop Sagar and the other at Majhi Ghat.
We also organise annual Lake Festival, educating public on water conservation and other significant elements related to lake protection. We have also purchased de-weeding machine to keep the lake free from water hyacinth and other weeds.
How Udaipur citizens are being engaged to develop it as a Smart City?
We keep seeking public suggestions, meeting trade bodies, hotel associations and ensuring their views are also considered while making Smart City projects.