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Pune’s development takes smart route

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Dr Rajendra Jagtap, CEO, Pune Smart City Development Corporation LimitedTo implement all the projects under Smart Cities Mission is on top of our agenda. We believe that if we are able to implement what we have conceptualised, we will do justice to this great initiative started by the Government of India, says Dr Rajendra Jagtap, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) in conversation with Harshal Desai of Elets News Network (ENN).

As the Chief Executive Officer of Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL), you have involved citizens in the best possible manner to materialise the Smart Cities Mission in Pune. Please elaborate.

Smart Cities Mission is all about improving the lives of citizens within a city with a range of infrastructure and services. Since the commencement, we know that without citizens’ engagement, we would never be able to achieve our goals. This was the reason we involved citizens from the conceptualisation stage. Ultimately citizens are going to be benefitted with the Smart Cities Mission. We made the most of available technology and invited inputs from citizens online.

A dedicated website was setup. Portal, Facebook, Twitter and Mobile Apps, we deputed our teams to handle all the engagement channels and made sincere efforts to seek opinion from people. Further, the offline modes i.e., face-to-face interaction and discussions also proved to be useful. We had also initiated competitions for crowd sourcing of ideas and creativity. Citizen engagement is something that PSCDCL has executed in a very scientific manner. We are overwhelmed with the results. Even today for various projects in the ABD area we hold citizen engagement meetings and discuss with them the projects we propose to undertake.

How has been your experience of coordinating with other stakeholders namely Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) and Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA)?

We have been fortunate to receive great support from all the stakeholders be it Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), PMPML and PMRDA. It is the result of our detailed discussions and meetings that we have been able to implement various projects within the city. Smart City Mission can never be successful without the support of relevant stakeholders. Also, representation of govt/parastatal bodies in Pune on the board and our SPV has helped in the coordination efforts. PSCDCL has bagged many awards at different platform.

Which are these initiatives which are earning accolades from the experts across the country?

We are really fortunate that a number of organisations have followed us till date and closely observed and monitored our projects. We feel proud of what we have achieved so far and will strive towards bringing more perfections to our work. There are many projects which have earned accolades for us – public bicycle sharing, Placemaking, smart street lighting systems integrated with the SCADA system, street redesign project which ensure streets are friendly to pedestrians and disabled people with wider footpaths, etc, over and above recognition for the Pune Smart City SPV.

You are doing extremely well for promoting sustainable transportation with Public Bicycle Sharing System? Please elaborate.

It is indeed one of the most successful projects under Smart Cities Mission and we are really proud that we could gain tremendous momentum with this initative. People in Pune used to cycle a lot, however, with the increased number of motorised vehicles, the number of bicycles decreased. We designed a great Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) plan and tied up with couple of start ups to materialise the dream. Public Private Partnership (PPP) worked for us and all the partners are committed to deploy significant number of bicycles in near future. Our PBS System has been appreciated across the county and we are proud to say that 6 of the selected Smart Cities have decided to emulate the scheme. We will be laying more cycle tracks in near future. The work is already on.

What are your views on developing Greenfield and Brownfield cities?

I believe it is comparatively easy to develop a Greenfield city as you face minimum challenges while implementing your projects without any hindrance. However, while executing your activities in cities which are already existing cities, you need to address various issues and it actually limits your scopes. We, however, have accepted the challenge in Pune and making every single possible effort to progress at a rapid speed. We are very focussed on our approach and will ensure maximum use of available smart technologies to bring sustainable developments all around with the help fo all the stakeholders.

What are your long term goals?

To implement all the projects under Smart Cities Mission is on top of our agenda. We believe that if we are able to implement what we have conceptualised, we will do justice to this great initiative started by the Government of India. As we have stated on our website, leveraging Pune’ s rich cultural and natural heritage, strong human capital and strong business environment as key strengths, Pune aspires to become the most liveable city in India by solving its core infrastructure issues in a “Future-Proof” way, and by making its neighbourhoods beautiful, clean, green and liveable through involvement of the community of Pune. We are determined to make Pune as the most liveable city of India – a holistic development which will help us develop a city which has all the core infrastructure and services.

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