To develop Ranchi as a smart city, the state government has various plans. Arun Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Jharkhand has thrown lights on future development policies to establish the smart city as a lighthouse for other urban local bodies in an interview with Shivani Tyagi & Manish Arora of Elets News Network (ENN)
What is your vision on smart city?
Basically smart city means that we bring components of smart city, in our urban bodies, urban areas and the services which are contemplated like smart governance, water supply, 24*7 electricity, IT and e-Governance, infrastructure, transportation, education, health services so all these things are to be developed on smart cities.
We have been allotted one smart city by the Government of India and we are coming up with green field. We already have 600 acres of land for that. It will totally be a new city and will act as a lighthouse for the other urban local bodies of the state, especially Ranchi. It is a part of Ranchi, but it is a version of smart city coming up and theme of the smart city will be knowledge and skills. As the deliberation held with the citizens of Ranchi town, the focus was to strengthen education and skills among the citizens of Ranchi, since the state is affected by the extremist activities and the genesis of these extremist activities is basically because of unemployment. If employment opportunities are provided to youth, then this problem can be tackled to great extend but for that youth have to have skills and the smart cities be intend to have institutions which trains in skills among the youth and then these youth get placed within the state, within the country and at the international level. We are intent to invite international skill development agencies and we are in touch with government of India and we are trying to get agencies from Germany, France, Korea, USA etc. These agencies will be skilling people in different sectors from electronics to automation, automobile sector, robotics, hotel management and housekeeping. Higher education institution such as universities will also envisaged their interest.
We have pan city solution for existing town of Ranchi which has the transportation component as one of its major ingredient because transportation is one of the sectors where people are facing a lot of problems due to congestion
Congestion on roads is a major problem for Ranchi, what will be your plan of action to deal with this problem?
We have pan city solution for existing town of Ranchi which has the transportation component as one of its major ingredient because transportation is one of the sectors where people are facing lot of problems due to congestion. So various activities to decongest and to smoothen transportation network is been contemplated by building roads, flyovers, better transportation system, we are coming up with metro in Ranchi as well. DPRA is already prepared, around 4200 crores of budget is allocated, currently it is around 13 km of length, it is in first phase now and later on, it will be enhanced. It will also have feeder services, which will feed the metro from various places where it can’t reach.
All those things are been contemplated, so that Ranchi comes up along with the services which affect the citizens like water supply services, solid waste management, electricity etc. All these things would act as an indicator to the Ranchi town and to other ULB’s and other local body of the state. The local development bodies can take cue and they can take advice also on how to establish it.
How important are the people of Ranchi in smart city mission?
That is most important because ultimately people will stay in smart city, will use facility of smart city and make it a way of their life because unless it is way of life, we cannot be smart. So all smarter components in our day to day life such as smart thinking, smart mentality, smart appearance and smart interactions have to be adopted by the citizens of smart cities. Everything has to be smart in these cities. In fact the DPR for the smart city shall be prepared after SPV is found. Key of smart city is skills and education, so IT sector is one of the sector which will provide lot of employment, so we have been inviting IT companies also. Although we have IT department which is contemplated to set up a IT Park and the IT PARK will provide huge opportunities for employment to the youth of the state.
What are the challenges to make smart city a reality?
Mindset of the people is the biggest challenge. The mindset has to be oriented in a way that it’s man behind a machine and if the man is not skilled enough, then the machine will be useless, so basically is the biggest challenge. To make people smarter, they must be acquainted with the smart components and once they are ready, the smart city automatically will thrive and sustain.