Smart cities have played a vital role in the times of Corona. Throwing light on Smart city interventions and how they have enhanced the capacities of civic bodies Udit Agarwal, Commissioner, Rajkot Municipal Corporation addressed a webinar organized by Elets Technomedia.
Role of Smart City
On the role of smart cities in times of pandemic, Agarwal said, “We were keeping track of the virus from Day 1. Initially, we started keeping the records of foreign passengers who were arriving at Rajkot. The government of Gujarat had asked us to track and put them in home quarantine for 14 days. The first containment zone of Gujarat was set up in Rajkot.
On the initiatives taken for upscaling testing, he said, “ICMR has given very clear guidelines, who all are to be tested. There are many cases, where patients were found positive without any symptoms. With rapid testing, we can isolate a large number of people but it is impossible to test each and every person in the country.”
Further, he added, “With Corona spreading, we need to cover our mouth and nose, maintain social distancing. The world must learn from Japan, the way they handled the virus…Developing immunity and social distancing will be the new normal for next few years.”
“To curb the spread of the Coronavirus, we have installed 1000 high-resolution cameras across the city, through which we had fined over 4000 people who were caught spitting in the public places. Through these cameras, we are able to track the vehicles on roads. We started plotting indicators on the map to follow the trend of the virus”, Agarwal said.
Moreover, he said, “We developed an in-house application to keep track of those in quarantine in the city. They were all asked to give their presence every hour without any failure.” Around 38 big LEDs are installed across the city to create awareness among the people, he added.
Citing challenges, he said, “In Rajkot, there were no home delivery systems. Some of the delivery services were limited to food items. No supermalls or any other e-commerce sites were delivering essentials in the city.”
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“To start a home delivery system in the city was a huge challenge for us. We started a collaboration with auto-rickshaw drivers and grocery stores to provide doorstep deliveries. We tied up one auto-rickshaw driver with two shops and it was working nicely. For medicine, we tied up with courier services, in the city.”, said Agarwal.
Preparations for Pandemic
Speaking of preparations Agarwal told that sanitization is being actively done across the city. “For sanitization, we took the help of fire services. We have almost sanitized running 3500 km in the city. Along with Ahmedabad, Rajkot was the first city in the state to start sanitization in public places”, Agrawal added.
Moreover, “We have started community kitchens for daily wagers and over 13 lakh people are feed regularly in the lockdown”, said Agarwal.