The Smart Cities Mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government appears to have triggered a positive competition among cities across India to rethink about their development model and carve it in a way which caters government policies and civic bodies’ facilities in the most convenient way. Gujarat, being the native State of Prime Minister Modi, doesn’t seem to take any chances to lag behind anyone.
Of the four cities selected under the Smart Cities Mission, Rajkot holds a distinct place and it is ensuring that it leads fellow cities by example even for the capital city of Gandhinagar.
About the City
Rajkot the former capital of the princely State of Saurashtra, and was once a base for the Western States British Government office. After India’s Independence, the city rapidly expanded into a prosperous, lively business centre, yet continued with its tag of ‘Rangeelo Rajkot’ (colourful Rajkot) as the city maintained its vibrancy while moving ahead on the road to development.
Mahatma Gandhi lived here for many years. Rajkot was the capital of the Saurashtra State from 15 April, 1948 to 31 October, 1956 before merging in bilingual Bombay State on 1 November, 1956. Rajkot was merged into Gujarat State from bilingual Bombay state on 1 May, 1960. In the words of Rajkot Mayor Binaben Jayendrabhai Acharya, “The city provides the highest opportunities for economical growth and industrial development in the region. The city has unique custom of Kathiawadi Culture and provides maximum opportunity for art and handicraft development. The city has excellent education facilities for primary education to advance university degree course.”Rajkot is also famous for its developing small scale industries, its silver business, penda (sweet dish).
Rajkot in Smart Cities Mission
For the implementation of Smart City projects, Rajkot Smart City Development Limited (RSCDL) was formed on 21 August, 2017. To be developed at a cost of Rs 2,326 crores, the Area Based Development (ABD) projects of the city have been alloted an amount of Rs 2,177 crores out of this budget while Pan City Smart Solutions has received a fund of Rs 446 Crores. Raiya Rajkot area has been selected under the ABD project which is actually a Greenfield area. The Masterplan of the City is being developed by INI Design Studios.
Sustainable Economic Development And Employment Generation: It calls for such projects that not only are sustainable but also lead to employment generation.
- 40,000 sq. metre Management and Convention Centre at a cost of Rs 140 Crores
- 30,000 sq. m Exhibition Centre at a cost of Rs 60 Crores
- 10,000 sq. m incubation centre at a cost of Rs 20 Crores
- 5,000 sq. m skill Development centre at a cost of Rs 10 Crores
To create a unique development entry for the city and give it a distinctive look, following projects are being planned:
- Rejuvenation of three lakes and amusement park.
- Gram Haat and Cultural centre
- Sports arena, parks and gardens spread on an area of 30 acres
- Racecourse to be built on 150 acres Intelligent
Traffic and Integrated Transport Management: Special emphasis will be given on well managed traffic with facilities for parking, public transportation and non-motorised transport.
For the sutainable transport, the city has planned the following things:
- BRTS at a cost of Rs 13.60 Crore
- Smart multi-level car parking and transport hub at a cost of Rs 125 Crore
- Dedicated Cycle track at new race course at a cost of Rs 1 Crore
- Smart cycle sharing station and charging station at a cost of Rs 4 Crore
- 16 BRTS bus shelters and 6.39 km cycle track along major roads
In keeping with the evolving time, advanced safety measures to maintain security are planned in the Smart City such as:
1. Smart Surveillance with CCTV and PTZ cameras at a cost of Rs 10 Crore
2. Project Veerangana Express: Vehicles with women staff exclusively for women and children passenger at a cost of Rs 5 Crore
the first phase is Rs 47 Crore.
In the second phase, the RSCDL wants to focus on network infrastructure, city-wide Wi-Fi, City Command Control Centre (CCC) and Data Centre, City Surveillance System and cameras, Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), red light violation and e-challan, Internet of Things (IoT) environmental sensor, LED Display Boards, etc. In the second phase, a total of 109 locations have been identified to install 277 Fix Cameras, 109 PTZ Camera and in 10 other locations a total of 84 ANPR/RLVD will be installed. There is also a provision of installing 10 LED display boards. The total cost of phase 2 of the projects is kept at Rs 22 crore.
Aji Water Plant Project There are plans for the installation of 145 kilowattpeak Rooftop Solar PV at Aji water filter plant, Rajkot including 10 years comprehensive operation and maintenance. The installation of solar energy project at the Aji water filter plant will generate around 580 Units of electricity per day (211,000 units electricity per year), which has potential to reduce 165 tons of CO2 equivalent Green House gas emission from reducing use of conventional energy. Around 20 per cent of existing electricity consumption of Aji Filter Plant can be fulfilled by solar energy. Solar Energy is also being realised in various LED street light projects, Solar Park, Solar Roof along cycle track to be built at a cost of Rs 30.40 Crore.
The Rajkot Municipal Corporation has also made it compulsory to install rooftop solar plants at all private and commercial buildings so that atleast 10 per cent of the energy can be generated from that plant itself. All such buildings will use rain waterharvesting also. Technology
For All Smart City Rajkot will be implementing newer technologies for the following:
1. Smart Water Supply: Smart consumer meters, Bulk flow meters, auto leakage detection, SCADA, PLC connected with ICCC real time monitoring at a cost of Rs 20 Crore.
2. Smart Electricity: Smart meters at a cost of Rs 24 Crore 3. 100 per cent Wi-Fi coverage including laying of 40 km multicore optical fiber cable network at a cost of Rs 8 Crore.
To provide quality services to the citizens of Rajkot, RMC has come up with a unique endeavour RITE eGovernance. Through this facility, citizens of Rajkot are given responsive, intelligent, transparent and effective eGovernance services. This is first of its kind visible approach towards integrated e-governance services, wherein innovative initiatives are implemented and are sustained since inception. “As a result of a long-time philosophy of innovation, the city government leads the way in providing services in the most efficient ways possible. Continued innovation, including technology investments, process re-engineering, and the use of private contractors rather than public payrolls, makes the services the least expensive possible,” says Banchhanidhi Pani, Commissioner, Rajkot Municipal Corporation.
In addition to serving as transit hub for holy places like Dwarka and Somnath, Rajkot has also hosted the residence of Mahatma Gandhi during his school days Mahatma Gandhi spent his initial seven years of schooling in the school, which was called as “Alfred High School”.
Now the same school is being converted to “Mahatma Gandhi Anubhuti Kendra-Gandhi Museum” by Rajkot Municipal Corporation. Rajkot also hosts the place called “Kaba Gandhi Delo” where Gandhiji and his family stayed for a long period. Rashtriya Shala is another place, which was the cradle of his philosophy on education, satyagrah and non-violence movement.