On the verge of becoming a global city
Bhopal is famous for its cultural diversity across the nation and is now endeavouring to become a Smart City. It is a well-known fact that the Bhopal civic body has done a lot of work to strengthen the civic amenities, which indicates that Bhopal certainly has the potential to become not only a Smart City, but a global city too. This conclave is a platform where experts from various fields would help Bhopal administration to make it a better and livable city and put the name of the city on the global map. I can firmly assure Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) of extending all possible help to realise a dream of transforming Bhopal into a Smart City.
Technology to improve energy
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is producing Euro 4 in the Euro 3 market with a vision that by the time the market is converted to Euro 4 right from the refinery to the fuel tank of the vehicles, we will be able to comply with the emission norms on the day we declare ourselves that we are Euro 4 compliant. We have embarked on a massive solarisation plan for BPCL petrol pumps and retail outlets. Moreover, we are using technology for the past 15 years in terms of smart cards for transportation solutions which are basically cashless transactions, across the length and breadth of the country. We are having nearly 50 per cent of our entire network of total 12,000 retail outlets fully automated. It means that we give out machine-printed bills. If one is registered with BPCL, s/he will get an SMS.
Setting up the solar projects
When we are talking about the Smart Cities, I would like to talk about the renewal aspect of the smart energy because it’s a real smart energy. About three-four years back when renewable energy production was almost zero in Madhya Pradesh, there was a huge advertisement of the successful inauguration of Charanka Solar Park in Gujarat, which went viral in the country. After that the hon’ble Chief Minister asked us whether we can do the same in MP, although MP was zero in renewable energy at that time. We replied to the CM, “As on today, MP has an installed capacity of 2 mega watts (MW) in solar power.” We sought a time period of three years from the CM and committed him to convert 2MW into 2 giga watts and become three times of Gujarat which was leader at that time. It’s a matter of great pride that we have a registration of 10,000 MW in wind and MP is number one in installation and commissioning of solar projects. We have proposed to set up the largest solar project in the world.
The green city component
For any city to be declared Smart City, one of the major criterion includes pollutioncontrol measures and use of renewable energy. The major sources of pollution within the city are vehicular traffic and industries. To tackle the issue of ever increasing pollution, the solution is to use piped natural gas in domestic, industries and commercial sector, along with the usage of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in vehicles. So, for starting this City Gas Distribution (CGD) project, we need to fulfill conditions like availability of natural gas, authorisation for setting up a CGD by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) and the most important factor is allocation of natural gas by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for CNG and domestic-piped gas. For any smart city, green city component is very important which can only happen by using least polluting fuel, i.e. the natural gas.
Sustainability in spotlight
With the initiative undertaken by the Government of India to make Smart Cities, a lot of work will be done in the country and we have a huge task ahead of us. The pace of migration from rural parts to urban ones is quite fast and by 2050 a majority of people will be living in the cities. Further, the growth of the GDP in the urban areas is much more than the rural ones. Further, people are usually focused on very small areas of Smart Cities. We talk about the quality of life, employment, physical infrastructure, disaster management and much more. Also, the kind of destruction which took place in Nepal earthquake was monumental. So, disaster management in this region is really not something which is focused upon. The economic, social and institutional infrastructure all of these need a lot of effort to sustain. Also, the state of our schools, colleges and hospitals is not something which we can boast about. The Smart City is actually an intersection among competitiveness, sustainability and capital.
Smart Gram Smart Panchayat
If you look at the whole infrastructure of a city, the villagers and panchayats are the feeders of the Smart Cities as we are going forward. But if one starts neglecting these, then there will be a lot of problems to be faced. So, to overcome this problem, we have given a slogan called ‘Smart Gram Smart Panchayat,’ which will be carried forward. It is divided into four parts—the first is having a top-quality infrastructure, the second involves delivery of services through the software and system of operations. The third is the livelihood, which quite relates to the Smart City project, i.e. unless a good quality of livelihood is provided in these places, we are going to suffer migration, problems in slum areas and people moving unnecessarily from villages to the urban areas. Lastly, it is the social change which holds significant importance.