Aligarh Leveraging ‘Indigenous Technology’ in Smart Cities Mission

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Professor Nadeem Khalil

As per the bilateral agreement between the Government of India and European Commission, a research and development project was granted to Aligarh. Under the initiative, a low cost, eco-friendly, sustainable concept easy to implement and maintain a non-energy demanding technology, has been developed and deployed, says Professor Nadeem Khalil, Urban Specialist, Aligarh, in conversation with Gautam Debroy of Elets News Network (ENN).

What new technologies have been  envisaged under the Smart Cities Mission for developing the urban areas of Aligarh?
Many components have been conceived to carry out under the Smart Cities Mission for Aligarh. Drainage and solid waste management are the two sectors where immediate attention is required. We plan to develop these sectors with the help of indigenous technology for
the city.
Indigenous Technology: As per the bilateral agreement between the Government of India and European Commission, a research and
development project was granted to Aligarh. Under the initiative, we have developed and deployed a low cost, eco-friendly, sustainable concept, easy to implement and maintain, a nonenergy demanding technology. Aligarh is the lead partner in this whole consortium. This project started in 2013, completed in 2016 and is under the monitoring stage. The effluent is of very high quality —like the waste water
from drains, nullahs of peri-urban areas of the city can be reused in the construction, irrigation, gardening, horticulture, etc. We have already used this technology for one of the project Swings —Safeguarding Water Resources in India with green and sustainable technologies. Even the Namami Gange programme has adopted this technology. Focus is equally being laid on water supplies and traffic management to bring quality in the life of the urban citizens.

How can universities or educational institutions play arole in the Smart Cities Mission for Aligarh?
Universities can play a major role in educating people and providing technical and consulting assistance. The faculties have highly skilled members in engineering and technology. Their expertise can always be exploited. Seminars and workshops can be organised to generate awareness among the masses on the Smart City projects of Aligarh.

What is your view on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model being approached in the Aligarh Smart City Mission?

Instead of bidding on conventional way of PPP, I’d suggest to apply Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) which is although an offshoot of the PPP concept, the Government takes responsibility for financing the project and public plays an important role of the stakeholder. I believe that PPP in this sector will not be successful when compared to the western world or other developed nations because people are not thorough in the tax system. In PPP, importance is given to generate the revenue.

What are the major challenges lying ahead for the Aligarh Municipal Corporation in its initiative to develop Aligarh as a Smart City?
Aligarh has become a complicated city. Its development is in line with old planning. In the last 10-15 years, the construction of buildings has been haphazardly done without following proper municipal rules and guidelines. This has severely damaged to the ambience of the city. To make it smart, the AMC will have to develop a concrete plan taking inputs from the experts and incorporating the demand of the Aligarh citizens. Hiring people from outside or engaging consultants from Mumbai and Hyderabad, for instance, may not serve the purpose. A stakeholder forum must be formed at different stages —take the views of the citizens and incorporate in the planning stage, and then implement the programme. Educating people on the components of Smart City is also another criteria.

What do you think of Smart City Summit, Aligarh, organised by Aligarh Municipal Corporation in collaboration with Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd?
Such summits help educate people on the Smart Cities initiatives and they also get an idea on various developments being made in other
cities too. This joint venture will also help AMC achieve its targets.

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