Urbanisation is an inevitable phenomenon of the 21st century. While it brings along development of a city, the challenges that come with it are unavoidable. To deal with these challenges with an innovative approach, discussion, deliberation and following best practices across the world are some of the best ways ahead. To create such a platform, New Okhla Industrial Development Area (NOIDA) Development Authority and Elets Technomedia organised a day-long conference, Urban Innovation Summit on December 23, 2019, in Noida, with special focus on urban sanitation and waste management.
The Summit, chaired by Ritu Maheshwari, CEO, NOIDA Development Authority had a line-up of keynote addresses, presentations and panel discussions by policymakers and industry experts on the themes of waste management, water management, urban mobility, role of IT and ICT and the investment opportunities in Noida.
Delivering the welcome address, Maheshwari presented the multitude of initiatives taken by NOIDA Development Authority to manage solid and wet waste, making Noida plastic free, engaging the citizens in cleanliness activities such as Safaigiri programme and beautification of the city.
U P Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India was the Chief Guest of the Summit. Delivering his address, Singh said, “We must ensure that we conserve and rejuvenate the rivers of our cities. Rivers are the lifelines of human civilization and everyone, be it ministers or policymakers and citizens should ensure the cleanliness of the rivers. We must also ensure that potable water is available to all. While we have Sewage Treatment Plants and Water Treatment Plants all over, we need to create such an ecosystem that people would be able to drink water right from the taps, rather than treating it at the domestic level. Solid waste management must be done in a fool sproof manner, without which water management or clean rivers or potable water won’t be possible.”
Waste Management and Urban Sanitation
VK Jindal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India stressed on the importance of urban sanitation and how by introducing Swachh Suravekshan Survey, the Ministry is gradually attaining 90 percent Open Defaecation Free cities across India.
The Summit also saw case studies on the urban development and innovation adopted at Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, delivered by Narendra Bhooshan, CEO, Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority and Dinesh Chandra, Commissioner, Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation.
Resonating the thought, Nitishwar Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India said, “Rain water is the biggest source of natural water which we need to leverage in the sustainable way. Owing to groundwater depletion, we need to use it in a judicious way. Hence, rainwater harvesting should be implemented universally. Through water audit, we have to ensure the judicious utilisation of water resources, especially in the urban areas,”
BRK Pillai talked about the facets of how water scarcity is looming large and impacting in climate change, agriculture and other sectors.
Stressing on the need of the public transport and other facets of urban mobility, Mangu Singh, Director, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd said, “DMRC runs around 50,000 rides each day with a high punctuality rate. A good public transport system is very necessary for developing urban mobility. With new urban areas getting developed, the load of commuters is also increasing. Hence, providing an efficient public transport system helps in mitigating challenges like pollution, traffic congestion, duration of travel within the city to name a few. DMRC has developed new routes and corridors to offer inter and intra-city connectivity and the process is going on. We are also the largest consumers of solar energy and also installing rooftop solar power generation methods as well.”
Anil Srivastava, Principal Adviser, NITI Aayog enlightened the audience about the need of shared mobility and electric vehicles. “Shared mobility or public transport is the lifeline for urban development. This is also necessary to curb challenges of pollution, traffic congestion etc. Electric mobility is the order of the day. However, we must understand the constraints that come along with it such as electricity generation, consumption, charging points etc. We must also keep in mind the needs and challenges of common Indians. Unless we realise the problem of citizens of each segment of society as well as bring out the solutions.”
Asim Kumar Arun, Additional Director General of Police (Technical Services, ITECCS, UP 112), Uttar Pradesh delivered a detailed presentation on the safety and security innovations adopted by UP Police to ensure safety to the citizens of Uttar Pradesh . He also speaks about the integration of technology integration done by UP Police and the road ahead.
Himanshu Verma, Technical Expert-IT, GIZ India shared an overview on the role of cybersecurity and Data integrity in terms of urban innovation.
The other speakers from the Government of India were Padma Jaiswal, Secretary, Directorate of Information Technology, Government of Puducherry; Vijay Kumar, Director, MSME Development Institute, Ministry of MSME, Government of India; Dr Raj Shekhar, Managing Director, Uttar Pradesh State Transport Road Corporation; PD Upadhyaya, Executive Director, Noida Metro Rail Corporation Ltd; Janardan Prasad, Director, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India; Ankur Aggarwal, SP, Noida Police
Amit Bhargava, Senior Technical Director and Head – Utility Mapping Division, National Informatics Centre and Venkatesh Dwivedi, Director (Projects & BD), EESL.
The industry experts from multiple sectors such as waste management, mobility and infrastructure included Vineeta Hariharan, Senior Urban Policy Expert, World Bank Group; C J Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Wave City Center; Deepak Bhardwaj, Senior Vice President, Samsung India; Pankaj Bajaj, Managing Director, Eldeco Infrastructure & Properties Ltd; Geetambhar Anand, Managing Director, ATS Infrastructure Ltd; Anil Ji Garg, Managing Director, Sunwoda; Balram Naraynkar, Chief Strategy Officer, ETO Motors and Rimli Lahon, Business Development Manager, Bio Cleaner Inc.
A special issue of eGov magazine by Elets Technomedia on the urban innovation initiatives of NOIDA Development Authority was also launched at the Summit.