Thane’s Transformation into a Smart City

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The objective of Smart Cities Mission of Thane is to promote the city that will provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of smart solutions, says Sunil Chavan, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) and Chief Executive Officer, Thane Smart City Limited, in conversation with Rakesh Roy of Elets News Network (ENN).

What are the initiatives taken up by TMC to realise the vision of Smart City?
Smart City mission of TMC focuses on the most pressing needs and the greatest opportunities to improve lives of its citizens. The basic aim of the mission is to tap a range of approaches – digital and information technologies, urban planning best practices, PPP model and policy overhaul – to make a difference, where we always put people first.

The corporation has undertaken many initiatives like development of new suburban station, multi-modal transit hub at Thane Railway Station, parking management and pedestrian improvements, 70 acre cluster redevelopment, LED street lighting on Energy Services Company (ESCO) model, city-wide CCTV and public Wi-Fi, intelligent transport system, waterfront and lakefront development, etc, to fulfil its vision of Smart City, with a total estimated cost of Rs 5,463.24 crore out of which Area Based Development component is Rs 5,293.44 crores and Pan city initiatives is Rs 169.80 crores.

Please shed light on the waterfront and lakefront development initiatives and its objectives?
Thane City is having an area of 128 and is situated between Sanjay Gandhi National Park hills on west side and creek on the east side. Out of 128 area, 62 is green zone or no developed zone (forest and Coastal Regulation Zone). The length of the creek is around 32 km, spreading from Diva, Mumbra on Ghodbuder road. If this waterfront is developed in a planned way, this will not only enhance the beauty of the area but will also improve environmental quality by way of protecting mangroves.

TMC has started waterfront development which comprises seven stretches namely Saket-Balkum, Kalwa-Shashtrinagar, Parsik Retibander, Kopri, Kolshet, Nagala Bander, Kavesar-Waghbhil having the total approximate length of 10.10 km at a cost of Rs 224 crores.

The waterfront project is considered as a makeover project for neglected and polluted creek area which has always been under the threat of encroachment.

The objective of the project is to improve the overall quality of life of the residents and achieve larger policy objectives such as public health, youth development, livelihood opportunities, social and cultural exchange, and community building. The scope of works of the project include the creation of recreational facilities viz mangroves trails, promenades, gardens, public spaces, cycle track and improve the creek’s ecosystem which will promote water tourism in the area.

In an objective to improve water quality, pathway, plantation and jogging park, TMC is developing two lakefronts namely Kamal Lakefront and Hariyali Lakefront with a cost of Rs 2 crore each.

As urbanisation and industrialisation have kept a rapid pace in Thane region since the last few years, what are the steps taken by TMC to keep pace with the issue of connectivity and to improve public transport system?
To keep pace with the growing populace in Thane, TMC is planning to construct a New Suburban Station between Mulund and Thane on Central Railway Suburban Corridor on the 14.73 acres of the Mental Hospital land. The project, at a cost of Rs 289 crore, will have an island platform and one home platform, including parking, bus terminus etc, that will connect with the Eastern Express Highway and existing Thane station.

The objective of this new suburban station is to reduce the passenger load on existing Thane station. This new station will be helpful to commuters from Wagle estate Owala Majiwada and Ghodbunder Sector. This will reduce the load of existing Thane and Mulund station. To ease the public transport in the existing Thane railway station, our department is implementing Multimodal Transit Hub at Thane Station. This proposal is of implementation of Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme (SATIS) in the railway owned land outside of Thane Rly Station (East ) with a dedicated elevated route of 3 km for public transport. The objective of this project is the development of intra-city and inter-city Mass Public Transport System for Thane City with the integration of multimodal transport facility at Thane Railway Station with a view to ensuring efficient Mass Public Transport.

How is TMC leveraging ICT for implementation of the policies?
Thane Municipal Corporation is taking various ICT-based measures to implement Digital India initiative to maximise asset efficiencies and resource management to ensure high-quality living to citizens. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), DIGI Thane, Integrated Command and Control Centre, Smart Parking System, Smart Metering are few of them.

TMC is going to launch ‘DIGI Thane’ app which will enable a plethora of services like personalised info-services, citizen engagement and social networking, identity-cum-smart card for all payments, services accessible to the residents through app notifications, emails, SMSes or website alerts, etc.

Smart Parking is another feature to reduce the traffic congestion, on-street parking in the city that integrates with the Command and Control Centre. The mobile and software-based parking application will help vehicle owners/ drivers to look the parking availability and collection of parking charges.

Thane Municipal Corporation is committed for the improvement and rejuvenation of the existing water supply in Thane city by implementing 100 per cent smart metering for the entire Thane city for converting immediate supply to 24×7 pressurised water supply to each and every household in the coming years.

Safety and Security is of paramount importance to any Smart City, can you apprise us of the steps taken by the Corporation in this regard?
TMC is installing LED street lighting on ESCO Model to provide better and efficient streetlight facility to the citizens of Thane. It will reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficient retrofits. A Power Control Panel with Remote Management system will be installed to track the functioning of the LED lights.

We are working on plans to install city-wide CCTV and public Wi-Fi through Public Private Partnership. For the seamless Wi-Fi Connectivity across the Thane city with free Internet for citizens, free Wi-Fi connectivity of 812 kbps will be provided to citizens of Thane all across the city. CCTV Surveillance of 400 cameras has been installed across 10 wards of the city.

What are the other initiatives for the Sustainable Development of the city?
With the assistance of private players, TMC has proposed to install 10 MW Grid Connected Solar PV Rooftop plants powering 25 municipal buildings and locations. The project will produce more electricity than TMC’s consumption and relay the additional electricity to the grid through net metering which will benefit the TMC financially and also in achieving in carbon neutrality status.

The corporation is working on a project to install 267 KW cumulative Grid Connected Solar PV System on Rooftops 56 Municipal Schools in Thane.

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