Elets Technomedia organised a three-day India Transformation Summit to highlight India growth and development. Dr C Vanlalramsanga, Secretary, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Department (UD&PA) Department, Government of Mizoram addressed one of the session themed ‘Role of Urban Development and Smart Cities in Transforming India’.
Dr Vanlalramsanga started by saying that cities are the centre of the Cornovirus pandemic and are also the drivers of transformation. Briefing about the cities, he said, “Today about 55 percent of the world population lives which accounts to 4.2 billion live in cities. As per the World Bank estimate, the urban population will double its current size and nearly 7 of 10 people will live in cities.” This is the scale of urbanisation today, he added.
Cities are at the forefront of combating the Coronavirus pandemic as over half of the world’s population resided in cities, stated Dr Vanlalramsanga. Adding on the pandemic’s impact, he said, “It is impacting not only the public health but also the economy and the social fabric worldwide.” The major steps taken to control pandemic are from the cities. This is due to the economic structure, preparedness for such crisis and service delivery system, added Dr Vanlalramsanga.
Adding on he said, “Hence when we talk about building smart and resilient cities, we need to look beyond the spectrum of infrastructure. People need to be brought at the centre of planning and development to better the upcoming cities.” Economic, health and social, all the three aspects have to to be in focus to build smart and resilient cities, Dr Vanlalramsanga added.
While answering about the initiatives in Mizoram for urban development, he said, “Aizwal is a smart city, and also it is an AMRUT city; hence, a lot of initiatives are being taken in the city.” Backing Dr Kajal’s statement, Dr Vanlalramsanga said, “The focus is not only on the technological development but also on the people, liveability, social fabric improvement, and resilience, etc.”
“We have realised that cities play a pivotal role in social transformation as well. So, we have centres of architecture, scientific and technological innovation, and for culture and education as well. Hence, our focus has been on improving the social fabric covering people from all ages and all walks of life besides improving technology and service delivery”, told Dr Vanlalramsanga. Also, there are specific programmes for uplifting the poor and the vulnerable. So, improving liveability and resilience is at the core, he added.
Speaking on the transformation in the energy and the transport sector in urban areas, Dr Vanlalramsanga said, “The city, where I am residing, is a small city and the challenges which we face are quite different from metro cities. For example, ‘Cycles 4 Change’ is a commendable step but for a hilly city like our’s, it may not be the apt move. Hence, there are challenges, it is also difficult to promote non-motorised transport due to the terrain of the city. Our challenges are different… We are currently promoting pedestrianisation. Also, due to safety concerns we have restricted the public transport systems so that social distancing can be followed.” Taxis have been restricted to carry only two passengers, buses need to follow precautionary guidelines, wearing of masks is mandatory for everyone, he added.
“For Aizwal, we have a project with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the pipeline to develop a cable-car system. With the implementation of this system, the mobility in the city will be improved”, told Dr Vanlalramsanga. Concluding his address he said that such a transit system can better the congestion issues and ease travelling from place to place for the people.