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SIPMIU ensuring North East’s development

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In order to achieve the scope of the Smart City issued by the Government of India, the infrastructures can be selected through wide public consultation and adopting the best which can be affordable by the community of Aizawl, says Valbuanga, Programme Director, State Investment Programme Management and Implementation Unit (SIPMIU), Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Department (UD&PAD), Aizawl, Government of Mizoram, in conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of Elets News Network (ENN).

Can you highlight some of the SIPMIU projects related to water supply, sewerage and solid waste management?

The present water supply available is only 34.8 Million Litres per Day(MLD) with a deficit of 19.83 MLD. The sub-project of water supply envisages augmentation of existing water supply by 37 MLD for meeting the intermediate water demand of 71.22 MLD by 2033 which is proposed to be completed by June, 2019. The programme will benefit the people of Aizawl for lengthening water supply duration by 24×7 in some part and at least 12×7 in most of the part with standard supply rate of 135 lpcd.

The project adopted for Solid Waste Resource Management is: l Segregation of waste at sources for bio-degradable and nonbiodegradable by providing two bins (green/blue) to each household. l Providing collection vehicles for dry and wet waste separately for collection from house-to house and by bell ring system at some points through PPP mode. l Provide separate unit for secondary segregation with separate treatment for dry and wet in the sanitary land fill area. l Provide facility for composting through mechanical/microcomposting and vermi-composting for wet waste, and bailing the dry waste separately for different kind of waste that can be provided for recycle.

What challenges did you face in implementing the North Eastern Region Capital Cities Development Investment Programme (NERCCDIP)?

The implementation of urban development in the present context is very difficult and challenging since there are number of responsible agencies involved in the development. For example water supply by Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), sewerage and sanitations by PHED, Solid Waste Management by Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation department (UD&PAD)/ Aizawl Municipal Corporation (AMC). Further, there are other issues in the contract executions such as less working season due to prolongation of rainfall (monsoon), congestion of working space on roads, traffic movement restriction during day time, frequent change of skilled labour by the contractors and number of interventions with the public, departments and effected areas.

In order to tackle such hindrances, guidelines are given by Asian Development Bank in their loan appraisal report duly approved in the implementation arrangement which has been followed strictly by the State nodal department (Finance) and the State executing agency (UD&PAD). The Government constituted State Steering Committee headed by the Chief Secretary with members of head of departments concerned for the projects to appraise coordination between the implementing agency and other departments. The committee is also responsible for policy change agenda. The committee encourages the programme implementation and give full support and resolve the inter coordination.

Further, the Investment Programme Empowered Committee (IPEC) constituted by the government for administering, headed by the Secretary, UD&PAD is fully empowered and is taking the shortest decision for the project implementation such as administrative approval, expenditure sanction and approval of contracts award. The Finance Department being the nodal agency, was fully aware of the programme and gave full support in Aizawl and other towns, pumping from the perennial river source is commonly used in which sustainability cannot be achieved due to high operational and maintenance cost. Therefore, the water supply projects should be selected after careful study of the availability of water sources and and the best scheme for sustainability should be selected.

Share your ideas on developing Aizawl city as a Smart City?

The scope for the Smart City can be widely classified in terms of infrastructure development, institutionalisation of urban services, capacity to afford for sustainability as per the provision of guidelines for the Smart City. It will also greatly depend on geographical conditions, traditional practices, social, culture and religion of the city. In such cases the infrastructures such as metro transport system in Delhi/Mumbai may not be applicable for Aizawl.

The basic need of water supply, sewerage and sanitation system facilities may not be suitably applicable in Aizawl compared to other cities located in the planes due to geographical locations. In order to achieve the scope of the Smart City issued by the Government of India, the infrastructures can be selected through wide public consultation and adopt the best which can be affordable by the community of Aizawl. financing the projects and the SIPMIU could clear all contractors bills on time. The Government has given priority to the programme implementation and constituted the Quality Assurance and Coordination Committee headed by Programme Director, SIPMIU with members from concerned departments and stakeholders.

The committee is seated as and when required for review and consultation of the contract executions. Number of public consultation meeting and joint site inspection has been conducted before start of the works which greatly support project implementation without much delay since public was informed well ahead before the start. Water is an essential resource on the planet.

What steps can be taken to address the paucity of water in hilly areas?

It is a common fact that water paucity is in the hilly areas. It depends on the traditional settlements such as some city/towns are located on the hill tops, slope and foot hills. There are no spring sources and perennial rivers within the vicinity of city/towns to meet the water demand. Some towns and cities are provided by gravity feed scheme or collection of rainwater (individual roof top/impounding) is the economy project to meet the portable water supply. However, for a city like Aizawl and other towns, pumping from the perennial river source is commonly used in which sustainability cannot be achieved due to high operational and maintenance cost. Therefore, the water supply projects should be selected after careful study of the availability of water sources and and the best scheme for sustainability should be selected.

Share your ideas on developing Aizawl city as a Smart City?

The scope for the Smart City can be widely classified in terms of infrastructure development, institutionalisation of urban services, capacity to afford for sustainability as per the provision of guidelines for the Smart City. It will also greatly depend on geographical conditions, traditional practices, social, culture and religion of the city. In such cases the infrastructures such as metro transport system in Delhi/Mumbai may not be applicable for Aizawl. The basic need of water supply, sewerage and sanitation system facilities may not be suitably applicable in Aizawl compared to other cities located in the planes due to geographical locations. In order to achieve the scope of the Smart City issued by the Government of India, the infrastructures can be selected through wide public consultation and adopt the best which can be affordable by the community of Aizawl.

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