Citizen-Centric Approach for Smarter Cities: Ved Prakash

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Ved Prakash, Commissioner, Jabalpur Municipal Corporation (JMC)

Ved Prakash, Commissioner, Jabalpur Municipal Corporation (JMC), is a dynamic personality and a man of commitment. Prior to being posted as a Municipal Commissioner, Jabalpur, he served as the Municipal Commissioner, Gwalior. Prakash is a very positive in his thinking and attitude. An old adage reads: ‘Attitude determines altitude’, and this absolutely applies to a character like Prakash. Under his leadership, Jabalpur has seen phenomenal changes in the recent years. In an interview with Elets News Network (ENN), Prakash tries to cover the whole gamut of activities that the Municipal Corporation has undertaken to make Jabalpur a Smart City

How do you feel on Jabalpur being featured in first 20 Smart Cities list?

We feel elated that the city has been selected in the first 20 cities under the Smart City Mission (SCM) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. From time to time, we invent various programmes, and these programmes are big platforms for public consultation and planning for our own city. These programmes are for making people aware about Smart Jabalpur, and have been designed on the basis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis.

How do you propose to procure funds apart from getting it from the Centre and the state?

The seed capital will be given by the government. But we need to explore Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to procure more funds for transforming the city to a smart one. Apart from that, Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), solar power, service ducts, transports need to mobilise and liberate funds.
We can also monetise our Floor Area Ratio (FAR). The Municipal Corporation Jabalpur also lease lands under its jurisdiction. Therefore, JMC also can have some funds from leasing the lands under it.

What major challenges do you foresee in making Jabalpur a Smart City?

Ensuring finance will be the real challenge in my view. Attracting funds or investments will be a big task. The State Government and the District Administration can lease government land under the control of Municipal Corporation for institutional development, and this way we can progress towards “Skill India” to “Make in India”.

What are your plans on engaging the local citizens?

The real stakeholders of development are the people of this city. The city should be developed on people’s mapping skills. There should be regular and quality supply of skilled people. That apart, huge investment is required for economic reform and revival. We are going to the citizens at various stages from consultations/ feedback to making them an actual partner of development.
Involving them is indeed a difficult task but the people here, in a manner, are self-involved. Machine can create smart infrastructure but people only can create Smart City.

ved_prakashWe need to strengthen the public transport system of Jabalpur. We are also trying to shift from motorised to non-motorised system of vehicles to make the city safe and environment-friendly. That apart, we are working on Transit-oriented Development (TOD)

How do you perceive tourism as an area of focus in Jabalpur?

Jabalpur has high potential of becoming an economic, ethnic, and a spiritual tourism destination.
Resources, be it natural or others, are in plenty in Jabalpur. The only thing required is their integration. So, integrating stakeholders with their potential is the key to develop Jabalpur in a smarter way. Besides that, use of modern market- ing technology, will fetch more tourists to the city resulting in more revenue collection.

What are your plans for the Public Transport System?

We need to strengthen the public transport system of Jabalpur. Not only this, we are also trying to shift from motorised to non-motorised system of vehicles to make the city safe and environment-friendly. That apart, we are working on Transit-oriented Development (TOD).
The city and its people must have the time and space for entertainment, education, health and all other such facilities. Transit needs to be minimised. We are working for the last mile connectivity while trying to provide road to everyone.

What are your future plans with regards to green energy, green buildings and waste management, etc?

We have planned for future environmental sustainability with the upcoming projects in the city. We are also working for e-Energy, a project of waste management, that is commissioning in a month’s time.
Solar energy harvesting is another area of development. The city has abundant space which is likely to be occupied by solar power plants. We also have to conserve water, and treatment of water is also an on-going project to re-supply for sanitary and other purposes. All the green projects are being developed under Area Based System (ABS).

Jabalpur on Smart City Path-Challenges & Opportunities
Ved Prakash, Commissioner, Jabalpur Municipal Corporation at Smart City Jabalpur

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