He has taken over as the Municipal Commissioner of Amritsar a month ago. Already he is bustling with plans to make the corporation self sustained, focussing on revenue generation for the upliftment of the city. Amit Sharma, the Commissioner, Amritsar Municipal Corporation, lists out his priorities in conversation with Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN).
“Someone coming from Delhi can come to Amritsar and go to Gurdaspur and Pathankot and fly back from there. It will create lot of employment opportunities.”
What are the plans to make the city smarter?
Amritsar is a holy city and an attraction for people all over the world. There are so many projects going on to make it a smarter city -like Hriday project — developing some kind of restructuring and renovating civic spots and parks. We are waiting for Smart City project funds to start work on the developments and it will definitely boost the tourism potential.
What is being done on the cleanliness front since tourism and cleanliness are closely linked?
It is proud moment for Punjab and Amritsar — the city has bagged the Swach Iconic Award on October 2 this year given by the Ministry of Urban Development. Around Darbar Sahib, we are planning to have bio-gas plant that will provide uninterrupted supply to the kitchen. It will be based on bio degradable model which is completely environment-friendly. We have started mechanical cleaning on several roads. 55km length of roads in Amritsar are being cleaned by mechanical, automated processes. We have given the contract to a private company which lifts 400 tonne of garbage daily.
What kind of initiative is being taken to improve the effectiveness of the system?
We are ready for any kind of innovation —as of now we are planning for some kind e-initiative for the city. We will study all the innovative and tech driven initiatives that other civic bodies are adopting.
What are the biggest strengths and weakness of the Holy City that you are focussing on?
There are many strengths and weaknesses that the city has.The biggest concern is the revenue generation. The situation at present is that our earning is Rs 15 crore and spending is Rs 25 crore. So the difference is of Rs 10 crore – easily every month we are adding Rs 5 crore as arrears—it is a great challenge. My focus is on recoveries and how to boost the revenue generation.
“We are ready for any kind of innovation—as of now we are planning for some kind e-initiative for the city. We will study all the innovative and tech driven initiatives that other civic bodies are adopting.”
What are the plans for developing smart parking lots in the city which witnesses one lakh visitors every day? We have developed multi parkings we have developed. We have a masterplan but it is being developed in phases. Traffic problems are prominent all over the country. Even the smaller cities are facing these problems. We have to plan accordingly. We have recently addressed this problem with the help of Police Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner.
I have a multi-role as the city Commissioner. I have to see that the city develops. Tourists’ security is a big concern for us.
How can tourism be given a push in the region?
The Pathankot airport is going to be opened very soon. We have to move from culture to nature. Even as individuals we would like to go to a place which is amidst nature and not congested. In Amritsar we are offering only one or two days as tour package. There are so many tourist points in Gurdaspur like the Akbar Coronation, Chota Ghallughara, etc. Gurdaspur is a secular tourism point. Pathankot is very rich in natural resources. Someone coming from Delhi can come to Amritsar and go to Gurdaspur and Pathankot and fly back from there. It will create lot of employment opportunities.