Bhopal Makeover Underway: Tejaswi S Naik

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Tejaswi S Naik, Commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation

With a surge in the population and increase in the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s jurisdiction, its task to ensure impeccable cleanliness and develop adequate civic amenities has also become more challenging. In order to keep pace with the rising headcount, Bhopal’s civic body has taken several initiatives in line with the citizens’ expectations. Tejaswi S Naik, Commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation tells Vishwas Dass of Elets News Network (ENN), how they are working towards transforming Bhopal into a world-class city

What kind of IT initiatives you have undertaken to improve citizen-centric services and basic amenities for Bhopalites?

Bhopal, which is also known as the city of lakes, has seen an exceptional growth in the recent past, which has attracted many citizens to pursue their dreams in the State Capital in search of a career and better life. BMC has conceived plans for developing solid waste management (SWM) transfer stations, retrofitting energy-efficient LED lights, conserving lakes, heritage zones and smart card system to bring all the essential services to a single platform for citizens’ convenience. As part of the IT initiatives, BMC is toying with the idea of installing telecom signal receivers on the street-light poles to strengthen telecom connectivity.

The State Capital’s population has gone up from 19 lakh to 22 lakh, jurisdiction is up from 280 sq km to 460 sq km and number of wards from 70 to 85 after last year’s delimitation process. The surge in population has also resulted in increased burden on the BMC’s shoulders to deliver better civic services to its citizens.

BMC also takes pride in being India’s only urban local body to have fully implemented the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in toto.

What steps have you taken to improve public transport in Bhopal? Do you have any plans to encourage non-motorised mode of transportation?

The Bhopal Municipal Corporation is successfully operating Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), having the longest corridor of 22 kms in the city, which has given a reliable and faster mode of transportation to people. BRTS is aimed at encouraging people to use a mode of public transport, which is efficient and helps in keeping the environment clean and green. Once the Mass Rapid Transport System  is introduced, the city would also have Metro rail services on the lines of other metro cities. We are also developing cycle tracks and pedestrian zones to reduce people’s dependence on motorised transport and promote green mode of transportation.

Share with us some of your future plans to ensure better civic amenities for the citizens.

In order to provide free potable water to citizens, BMC is contemplating to install water ATMs where people can quench their thirst. However, those who want to get potable water in larger quantities will have to pay nominal charges to the operator.

Besides, it has been seen that women often face a lot of trouble because of absence of clean toilets in the city. To overcome this problem, BMC has floated tenders to engage a private firm to develop four ‘She Lounge’ complexes under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) mode, which would be equipped with all basic amenities like hygienic toilets, Wi-Fi connectivity, ATMs, bio-incinerator to treat sanitary napkins and napkin dispensers, sofa and a novelty shop to cater to the needs of women. What’s more? No charges would be levied on the female users.

Keeping environmental concerns in mind, BMC is going to replace conventional streetlight bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights to slash electricity bills and protect environment. Besides, for conservation and maintenance of all the 14 lakes, the BMC has got high-end equipment, which other ULBs rarely possess, like amphibious excavator, de-weeding machines and speed boats. The civic body has also taken up several heritage works to retain historical culture of the city.

Another important project is to provide smart cards to people having properties in their name and paying property tax to BMC. It aims at bringing all the essential services on a single platform to make citizens’ lives easier. People can use smart card for depositing any kind of taxes like water, electricity, land registry and property, among others, and even for travelling in the buses and Metros. The card would have people’s personal database like Aadhaar, Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and PAN integrated to it.

In order to provide free potable water to citizens, BMC is planning to install water ATMs where people can quench their thirst. However, those in need of potable water in larger quantities will have to pay nominal charges

Disposal of solid municipal waste is one of the biggest challenges for any civic body. How do you plan to ensure removal of solid trash in a scientific manner?

Bhopal generates around 700 metric tonnes of solid waste every day, which consists of nearly 60 per cent of green waste. Efforts are on to convert water hyacinth into manure. Once it is taken on a full-fledge basis, the civic body would not charge people to convert manure from hyacinth. That apart, at least 10 garbage transfer stations would be built in Bhopal. BMC would also set up bio-methanation plants to generate methane gas from solid trash and restaurant wastes to reduce carbon footprints. It can also be used for commercial purposes. If everything goes as planned, there would be one such plant at each garbage transfer station.

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