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Montag, 21.10.2019
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The Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited’s (PSCDCL) chief executive officer Rajendra Jagtap addressed students at the Times NIE Newsmakers’ Meet 2018-19 on Thursday at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Auditorium on Ghole Road. The theme for the event was ‘Pune Smart City Mission: Making it a reality’.

Around 130 budding journalists representing Times NIE member schools in the city asked Jagtap a wide range of questions tapping citizens’ concerns such as utility of roads, disabled-friendly transport and pathways, e-governance, water supply management, waste management, employment and housing facilities for the poor and cybersecurity, among others.

The students were shown a video showcasing the recent developments undertaken by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). It highlighted projects, including construction of universally accessible footpaths, creation of smart parks and recreational centres for children and the elderly, installation of solar panels for street lights and CCTV cameras at traffic junctions.

Jagtap acknowledged there were several parameters to be considered in the making of a smart city, which includes the psyche, lifestyle and priority of the populace, which may differ from city to city, as there is no concrete definition of a ‘smart city’. He said quality, sustainability and inclusiveness were key factors for a smart city.

A student pointed that the change in the people’s mindset and cooperation were of prime importance when a city undergoes some upheaval before its transformation.

“The Metro will definitely reduce traffic on roads. It is crucial to minimize the need of using private vehicles today,” Jagtap said.

At present, Pune is growing at the rate of 10 to 12% each year, while the transit capacity of roads remains constant. This leads to the need of using private vehicles.

“The measures we are considering to discourage the use of private vehicles include low costing for public transport, and increase in taxes of private vehicles and parking fees,” he said.

The PMPML has procured 25 e-buses and is planning to add 125 more. “The PMC has so far funded 10,000 autorickshaws to install CNG kits and extended subsidy for the same to curb pollution,” he said.

Another video under ‘PMC Care’ (Citizen Assistance Response and Engagement) highlighted the role of the administration in enabling e-payment gateways, complaint redressal and e-surveillance systems. “It is unanimously agreed that technology has expedited the process of paying taxes, procurement of government documents and also curbed corruption. There are apps for women safety and for helping citizens in distress. Around lakhs of users avail the free Wi-Fi hotspots in the city,” he said.

Talking about the water scarcity problem, Jagtap said citizens should be sensitized to save water and use it judiciously. “There is a dire need for tertiary treatment of waste water so that it can be reused. This will help tackle the water crisis in a big way,” he said.

When a student referred to a recent TOI report pointing at unfit toilets and lack of infrastructure at a zilla parishad school, Jagtap agreed that there were needs to be an upkeep and adequate allotment of funds as well as human resources at these schools and they should be monitored regularly.

The PMC has successfully carried a tree census. Jagtap said nurturing the saplings after plantation was crucial for afforestation to be useful. Other highlights of the discussion were the installation of pet parks and dispensaries for animals in the city.

The gathering collectively agreed that with progressive plans and consensus of the citizens, the smart city mission could be a reality. The session concluded with a cake-cutting ceremony with the occasion coinciding with Jagtap’s birthday. It was followed by a report writing activity for students.


Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 17.03.2019

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