Gearing up for Retrofit Cities: Amit Yadav

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Amit Yadav, Commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC)

Major roadblocks in redeveloping cities into smart ones would be revamping the infrastructure, planning it futuristically and ensuring that the civic bodies concerned are geared up to meet the requirements of such cities, says Amit Yadav, Commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), sharing his insights with Elets News Network (ENN)

With the Smart Cities buzz going all around, what is your take on the concept?

For understanding the Smart Cities, there is no fixed definition as such, but yes smart cities basically means for the convenience of the citizens and how the city is geared to ensure that the citizens are facilitated through optimum infrastructure, retrofitting and redevelopment, connectivity, transportation, linking it through wireless network providing solutions for the various citizen-government interface, so on and so forth. It’s basically ease of living in an area. Smart City or 100 Smart Cities have to be taken up in a well-planned manner, which is already there.

How are the state governments, especially in the NCR, coping with the Smart City initiatives?

The Smart City would require a proposal by the state governments to the Ministry of Urban Development for consideration and then they have their evaluation system. This keeps happening and based on the proposals, they pick up the projects. If an area is identified for being developed as a Smart City, let’s say within the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) jurisdiction, then it would be EDMC’s responsibility to also contribute towards the project. This way, the government proposal gets integrated with the municipal bodies, whether it is in terms of upkeep of roads, sanitation, providing civic amenities, etc. If it’s about redevelopment and retrofitting, then the corporations would have greater roles to play, like building new areas, bylaws, amalgamation of laws, providing various facilities, etc.

What are the challenges in building Smart Cities?

If you are taking up a new redevelopment area, then it’s a challenge for issues, like land records, land entitlement, reframing building bylaws, and so on. One needs to ensure that various amenities like water, roads, parking are being catered to. Most importantly, it should be a collective effort to effect redevelopment. Broadly speaking, major roadblocks would be getting the infrastructure, planning it and at the same time ensuring that the various civic bodies are geared up to provide the infrastructure.

Do you think redeveloping cities has an edge over creating Smart Cities?

Redevelopment is one way, but things like land title, amalgamation of laws and expansion of roads are crucial issues for redevelopment. If the streets are small, vehicles can’t move even during emergencies, be it fire brigade or police vehicles. Mobility emerges as one of the major concerns in retrofitting. So more than the revamp, it is the core issues that the urban local bodies needs to work on. This approach alone can help build sustainable and intelligent cities.

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