Interview

Chandigarh Smart City: Ensuring last-mile connectivity to citizens

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Chandigarh Smart City: Ensuring last-mile connectivity to citizens

Narinder Pal Sharma

Chandigarh Smart City Limited is working on multiple projects to ensure that the city’s sustainable and resilient nature is further enhanced. We are also planning to launch some projects, which would enable us to connect with the people and create an impact, says Narinder Pal Sharma, General Manager, Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL) in this exclusive interview with Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN).

Water management is one of the key criteria and focus areas of urban civic bodies. What are the initiatives taken by CSCL regarding this?

Wastewater management is one of the major projects we are working on. The five existing sewerage plants – Tigiyan, Raipur Kalan, Raipur Khurd, Dhanas, and 3-BRD, which have the combined capacity of treating 53 MGD of wastewater, will be upgraded as per the latest norms fixed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The norms for BOD level in effluent as fixed by NGT is less than 10 mg per litre, but we are going even further to upgrade these plants as per the requirements that may arise in the next 50 years by keeping the BOD at less than 5 mg per litre, which I believe is first in India. This will be the most suitable effluent to be discharged in natural streams. We are also going to set up a new plant of 4.5 MGD capacity near the lake in Kishangarh, in this plant BOD level in effluent will be less than 2 mg with nil coliform because this water will be discharged into the lake when it gets dry, so it has to be of a very high standard. The latest technology will be adopted in this particular plant.

The entire water will be of tertiary use quality. From the municipal corporation’s point of view, we are strengthening the tertiary water supply network. It can be used for irrigation purposes and later use it as the water used for washing vehicles at service stations and even for washing floors in industrial areas. We may later come up with double plumbing at least in industrial areas.

We have already floated the tender and are in the process of evaluating them. We intend to complete this work by the mid of 2021. The sludge which will be formed in these treatment plants will be of Type-A, which will be free from pathogens. It can be safely used as manure anywhere.

Which sewerage companies working on national or global level do you expect to come to Chandigarh for these projects?

We are looking at international level companies like Larsen & Toubro (L&T), VA Tech Wabag, Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited, Degemont Limited among others. These are some of the major players who are working with us in Chandigarh in waste management projects.

What is the project size?

The project is worth Rs 860 crore. It involves maintenance for 15 years by the company building the project. The Capex cost of the project is only Rs 328 crore and the rest involves the power consumption and maintenance cost.

Similarly, we are planning a 24*7 water supply project on the pilot basis that involves 865-acre area in Manimajra with a population of around 50,000 people and 13,700 water supply connections. The Request for Proposal (RFP) of this project is ready and very soon we will be floating the project tender. Although we are doing it as a pilot project, it will be extended to the entire city at a later stage. The size of this project is Rs 160 crore. We are seeking funds from the French Development Agency AFD to extend it to 1.5 lakh connections covering the entire city. We have prepared a DPR seeking Rs 397 crore and submitted its copy in advance to AFD.

Under the 24*7 water supply project, we aim to eliminate all types of water-borne diseases and to supply water to the entire city with adequate pressure, as residents are currently facing the issue of inadequate water pressure and quality, especially during rains the contamination level in supplied water rises. This project will resolve all these issues along with water theft through illegal connections.

In the area of governance, we have launched an e-governance project which is being implemented by PwC for the initial period of one year at the cost of Rs 11 crore. Under this project, we are building an online plan approval system which is one of the core needs of the residents because they have to run from pillar to post to get the mandatory approvals for building maps. It’s a joint project which involves Housing Board, UT Administration, and Municipal Corporation as well. Under this project, an umbrella app will be developed for the entire city where all kinds of services will be available online, even the payment gateways. It will enable the residents to access the information on their applications from the comfort of their homes. It will convert the internal services of the Municipal Corporation into e-office. We expect good results from this citizen-oriented project.

“We are planning a solid waste management project, which is a municipal corporation project but a part of it is being done by us. It involves material recovery facilities and garbage transportation. We are going for a bin-free city.”

In the area of surveillance and security, we have identified 40 junctions where surveillance and traffic management will be done. It will include RLVD cameras for detecting traffic violations and cameras for reading registration number plates. For surveillance, there will be PTZ cameras installed at the entry and exit points of public parks, schools, community centres, markets, and government colleges. This project was given to BHEL and we have approved the technical proposal. They are now going to submit the financial proposal which after evaluation will be given the go-ahead signal by the end of December this year. To house the control and command centre, we are going to build a building in Sector 17 where Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADAs) of various departments will be integrated and all the data will converge at one centre, which will then be analysed with the help of Artificial Intelligence. Some of the concrete things evolving out of that data will be used by the administration in decision making. This project is worth Rs 200 crores.

What are the initiatives taken in terms of Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCC) and traffic management?

Under ICCC, we are going to install an automatic traffic control system. The signal timing will be made dynamic as all the signal systems will be able to interact with each other. They will assess the data on traffic coming from all the directions and the timing will be decided automatically by the software. The Public address system, environmental sensors for monitoring air quality, etc, will also be part of this project.

Please throw some light on the waste management measures taken by the Chandigarh Smart City Limited?

We are planning a solid waste management project, which is a municipal corporation project but a part of it is being done by us. It involves material recovery facilities and garbage transportation. We are going for a bin-free city; nowhere will you see bins of 4.5 cubic metres lying. To achieve this we have to collect the garbage at the doorsteps of households and segregate it. Under this project, 400 vehicles are being purchased which will collect only segregated waste in the city. The rules in this regard have been notified to households by the Municipal Corporation, which makes it mandatory for them to give only segregated waste. We have till now covered the villages and markets. We are gradually moving towards the grids. This is a combined initiative of the CSCL and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. For example, CSCL is buying vehicles of 1.8 cubic metre capacity and rest is being bought by the CMC.

The segregated waste materials are taken to the transfer stations, where separate capsules for dry and of 20 cubic metre are kept. The processed wet wastes are taken to compost plants and the dry wastes are taken to material recovery facility and the recyclable waste can be collected and processed further. Rest of the wastes is given to us, which we convert into Refused Dry Fuel (RDF). We utilise it further in a suitable manner. We are building three such facility plants across the city, in Phase 1 Industrial Area, 3-BRD STP site and Dadu Majra.

Another major initiative that we are about to do is the legacy waste bio-mining in Dadu Majra. Within this, five lakh tons of legacy waste, which are more than 25 years old causing a foul smell and spreading diseases, are being eradicated through bioremediation process. This would also result in the recovery of 25 acres of land. Work has already started on this and is estimated to be completed within 1.5 years. The project is worth Rs 33 crore and the project is being dealt with by a Nagpur based company named SMS Limited.

Pollution is another area of challenge in urban development. Are you taking any steps to boost urban mobility?

Yes, we are working on a project on a public bike-sharing system. Within this, we will allocate as many as 5,000 cycles. This would be one of the biggest projects in India in terms of public bikesharing in the mobility sector. We intend to ensure last-mile connectivity. I have personally chosen each cycle station site. The bicycles used within the project are hybrid cycles. This project is worth Rs 20 crore and will be executed in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

Are there any other projects in the pipeline which are being worked upon?

There is another project, which may be small in size but would have a huge impact. The project is on providing hearing aids for the senior citizens of Chandigarh. We are designing a bus that would visit the senior citizens at their homes on call and conduct the medical tests and facilitate them with hearing aids. This project will be done in association with the ENT department of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh. The tenders of this project have been floated.

Also Read: What makes Chandigarh, the City Beautiful Unique: Manoj Kumar Parida

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