Bhopal Smart City has always been a name among the top-performing smart cities. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on Bhopal just as it was for the rest of the country. Aditya Singh, CEO, Bhopal Smart City, informed about how Bhopal managed to tackle the COVID crisis and what steps are being taken towards achieving the ambitious target 11.2 of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), in an exclusive interview with Elets News Network (ENN).
Bhopal Smart City has shown noteworthy progress. How has been the journey since the inception of the smart city project?
Which are the five most significant projects recently completed? The Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India seeks to address the issue of urbanisation through the transformation of selected cities. Bhopal has been amongst the 20 lighthouse cities with a dramatically different approach which is driven by ‘Redevelopment’ rather than ‘Retrofitting’. Bhopal’s quest for a better urban living got a boost as it was listed among 98 cities selected by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India. Bhopal Smart city has undertaken multiple diversified Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Projects in Pan City and has been successful in the land monetisation of the ABD parcels which is first in nature, amongst other smart cities.
Bhopal Smart City has been ranked continuously as no. 1 in the MoHUA ranking. The objective of Smart City Bhopal is to transform Bhopal into a smart, connected, sustainable, and liveable city.
The five most significant projects recently completed by Bhopal Smart City include:
Boulevard Street – 45 M Boulevard Street with underground utilities, state of the art civil infrastructure, beautiful plantation and other amenities.
Arch Bridge – Steel Arch Bridge to connect Ginnori Ghat and Visarjan Ghat on the lower lake. The superstructure is of 200 m. The bridge length including junction improvements is 534 m.
Solid Waste Transfer Station – BSCDCL has implemented solid waste transfer stations for the municipal solid waste from the households. The infrastructure includes a Compactor machine & hook loader with capsules, Weighing Bridge Boom Barrier with RFID Tags and other civil components.
Smart Road – 2.21 km from Bharat Mata Square to Polytechnic Crossing, 8.5 m wide driving lane on both sides, 30 m ROW.
Smart School – Modernising 10 municipal/government schools of Bhopal with state of art ICT and civil infrastructure along with digitized contents and online application platform.
As the second wave of the COVID pandemic has claimed lakhs of lives in India, what measures is Bhopal Smart City Ltd implementing to control the pandemic?
The Crisis Management Plan for the second wave of COVID-19 assesses hospitals, governance, structures, plans and protocols to help Bhopal rapidly determine their current capacities and gaps in services necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be helpful in identifying major areas that require investment and action and to develop plans to improve hospital readiness. The main focus of this plan is to primarily assist hospitals in preparing to effectively respond to the pandemic by assessing existing capacities and identifying those areas that need further strengthening.
Bhopal Smart City has established a State COVID Control Center. The Centre is responsible for the data management of the COVID cases and suggestive actions based on data analysis.
The COVID crisis management activities in Bhopal can be broadly categorised into four categories – Hospital-Level Interventions, Oxygen Level Interventions, IT Interventions (Existing and Proposed), Capacity Building Initiatives and IEC Campaign.
COVID is not the only pandemic and definitely is not the last one. So, how is Bhopal Smart City Ltd. building its capacity and resilience to avoid such catastrophic scenarios in future?
The shortage of oxygen supply is one of the most important learnings from the second wave of the COVID pandemic. This has been a major reason for many deaths at several places. The second wave of the pandemic in India has exposed the poor management of oxygen supplies and called for a need to have a detailed Oxygen Supply Management Plan in order to cater to the oxygen requirements as and when required.
The oxygen supply management plan will play an instrumental role in estimating the oxygen demands. The dynamics of the oxygen demands in Bhopal from the pre-second COVID wave to today can be deduced in pointers as follows:
- Before the COVID pandemic, Bhopal had a demand of about 30 MT of oxygen per day.
- The capacity of the existing five oxygen generation plants was close to 60 MT per day which was enough to suffice the requirements before the second wave of the COVID pandemic.
- The demand for oxygen in Bhopal during the second wave increased to 100 MT per day.
- This called for the need to increase the capacity at least up to 150 MT per day to meet the present demands and speculated future demands.
- Also, considering the problem of the logistics of transporting medical oxygen – involving the number of tanks/containers and the distribution system. There is a need to create backup storage capacity for the city which should not be less than 25-50 per cent of the existing capacity.
Bhopal Smart City has a clear assessment of the oxygen demand and supply gaps and requirements for which the city has readiness on the various infrastructure upgradation planning for the Hospital.
Beds, Oxygen, Manpower, Medicines.
Online platforms, digitisation are a part of the new normal that has set in owing to the pandemic and lockdowns. What technologies are you leveraging to manage the COVID situation?
If it is for the technology, Bhopal Smart City is implementing several technology interventions to enhance city operations, management, civic services, providing benefits to citizens, and more. Following technologies are used and managed by Bhopal Smart city under Covid19 situations:
Niramay App: Niramay Bhopal is an initiative by Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation to monitor/track home isolated and quarantined patients. Also, the app enables the authorities to provide the best medical facilities and free resources to citizens of Bhopal.
COVID relief food distribution using Bhoj-Pal: -By using this service, the patient who is in home isolation and those admitted in hospital can order the food at their doorstep. Hospitals can also order food on behalf of their patients if needed.
Let’s Book Bed: This is an Initiative by Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited. With this, citizens can find hospitals and book bed online. Also, hospitals can use the admin portal to manage and update their availability of beds status.
Public Portal: Citizens can find the hospitals ward-wise and area-wise to book bed online. Following the booking confirmation, a token will be generated for reference purpose.
Oxygen Tracking: Authority can track the oxygen-carrying tankers from the oxygen supply plants to the storing stations in different districts of Madhya Pradesh and have seamless and end to end support in tracking and reporting.
What steps have been taken to achieve the ambitious target 11.2 of the SDGs? Throw some light on the way forward for Bhopal Smart City Ltd. in terms of sustainable development?
Considering SDG 11.2, Bhopal Smart City Ltd. has made several efforts to make the city’s transport system affordable, safe and accessible for all.
On the safety front, we’ve installed smart poles at 100 locations with CCTV cameras for surveillance across the city. The camera feeds are monitored from our Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC). Through our Bhopal Plus mobile application we have introduced an Emergency SOS Button option keeping in mind the security of women. Besides, as a part of women-centric initiatives, Bhopal Smart City has also introduced She Lounge. It is basically a convenience facility for women. Apart from safety service, the application also offers a MaaS (mobility as a service) option of bus route planner. On the technology front, the Smart City has also implemented the integrated traffic management system (ITMS) that includes a network of smart traffic surveillance cameras placed at 22 locations across the city.