The idea of Smart City varies from city to city, however, the major focus should be on improving citizens’ lives, and the infrastructure and services, especially, the government services, says Mukta Tilak, Mayor, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), in conversation with Harshal Desai of Elets News Network (ENN).
Please share your views on the concept of Smart Cities Mission?
The Central Government Smart Cities Mission is one of the most ambitious projects, and the way we have been progressing, it is indeed one of the successful projects of the Government as well. Every city needs to be developed and the central government under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi Ji is making efforts through different central and state-level schemes. However, the Smart Cities Mission has given a great opportunity to 100 selected cities to make progress in a systematic and focussed manner. It’s delighting Pune could make to the list and is now ranked among the best smart cities as well.
Why does the mission hold significance for Pune?
Pune is Maharashtra’s cultural capital and the State’s second largest city. It’s been known as the Education Hub for being home to a number of private and government education institutions. The city has also witnessed tremendous industrial growth. Pune is now also grown as a city where several IT companies have set up their headquarters. Pune has always attracted people coming from different parts of country. The urban population is growing at a rapid speed. Considering all these facts, it was momentous for Pune to be selected in the mission.
Which are the most important elements of a smart city?
There is a list of infrastructure and services which make a city smarter. The idea of Smart City varies from city to city, however, the major focus should be on improving the lives of citizens and improving the infrastructure and services – especially the government services. Clean water, ‘Swachhata’ (cleanliness) across the city, good roads, 24/7 electricity, access to government and its services, last-mile connectivity, safety and security, etc are all important elements of smart cities mission. I believe smart cites mission will allow us to develop core infrastructure and have a sustainable environment.
Which other elements Pune is presently focussed on?
Development of roads, walkways, e-buses bicycle tracks, and water management are among those initiatives which have earned accolades to Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited. We are also working on Place-Making for children and elderly people. Our Place-Making initiative has allowed communities to come closer and develop a sense of harmony. We have significant progress on Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). River Front Development and River Cleaning are other major initiatives which will soon become a reality. We have recently started construction of Waste to Energy plant as well within the city. By December 2018, about 750 tonnes of solid waste shall be treated with the help of the plan.
What is your message to Punekar, or the citizens of Pune?
I would like to thank the citizens of Pune. Their support has helped Pune to be shortlisted in Smart Cities Mission. I assure Pune will emerge as one of the top cities of all the 100 cities in the country. I urge citizens to come forward and share feedback. We will make every possible effort to develop Pune city and ensure all the essential components of Smart City work in the best possible manner.