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Along with infrastructural changes, a behavioural change among people is also required to make our cities smart, said mission director Rahul Kapoor.

"We need to inculcate a feeling of involvement and belongingness among public so that they feel the project as their own. We need to incorporate their ideas at the planning stage to bring out behavioural changes in them to adapt to the new modern infrastructure they would be using in the future. Like in the case of Delhi Metro, people see it as their own belonging and hence maintain the highest level of cleanliness and discipline on its premises. The same has to be brought on city roads too," said Kapoor.

He spoke to TOI on the sidelines of a panel discussion on the Centre's Smart Cities Mission (SCM).

Kapoor said that while focus so far was largely on upgrading urban infrastructure and providing improved services through smarter technology, local bodies should also try to create awareness about the mission, take feedback from public and involve them at micro-level planning with the help of mohalla samities (colony committees) and resident welfare associations (RWAs) to bring the desired impact.

The UP Municipal Corporation Act, 1959, also provides for forming mohalla and ward committees at the local level to discuss policy changes and decisions related to civic amenities before bringing them to the municipal corporation level.

"While the Act notifies formation of these local groups before bringing any decision at the House level, this has not been implemented yet. Their formation and people's participation could have speeded up the Smart Cities project," said additional director of Regional Centre for Urban & Environmental Studies AK Gupta.

He added that as various local bodies involved people's feedback and suggestions at the time of conceiving Smart Cities project, they should also involve them while implementing the changes at the local level.

"They will give the most relevant and practical ideas for their colonies or wards. So, involving them is important," he added.

A few cities have already successfully implemented ideas given by colony committees and RWAs. One example is New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which has ensured people's participation in various smart city projects.

CEO of NDMC Smart City Limited Nidhi Srivastava said, "It's always good to work on ideas emerging from the grassroots level. Various RWAs inform us about certain dark spots or water scarcity zones or unkempt parks in their localities, which wouldn't have caught our attention otherwise. Their information helps us in fixing the loopholes and creating a better and satisfied society. We all should involve RWAs with us."

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Priyanka Singh

Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 29.07.2018

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