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The results of India Smart Cities Award Contest were announced last week. Despite its selection for development as one of the 100 Smart cities in country, Nagpur hasn’t found recognition in any category. In a series starting today, TOI tries to understand where the city is lacking and how it can climb the ladder of success

Smart Cities are meant to leverage the benefits of technology to simplify, improve and automate routine governance processes to better the quality of life with optimization of resources. Even after half a decade of its selection to be developed as one of the 100 Smart cities in the country, Nagpur is nowhere near achieving the coveted status.

The city has been witnessing a huge infrastructure revamp but has not been chosen for a single Smart City award even in categories including governance and social aspect. While many blamed it on administrative nonchalance, others said Nagpurians too must share the blame. TOI tries to find out the reasons why the city fares so poorly among the 100 Smart Cities.

A senior official from Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL) told TOI that the city could do well in the governance category as it has already launched the Nagpur Smart & Safe City Project - Solution Components. Under this category, the city has installed around 3600 CCTV cameras and has also set up a command and control centre. This system helps the city police to keep 24x7 vigil. But he could still not explain why the awards remain elusive for the city.

About the social aspect, the officer claimed that the NSSCDCL had undertaken area-based development of 1,730 acre in east Nagpur. “This part of the city was developed in a very haphazard way. The NSSCDCL is to provide all basic amenities — proper roads, sewerage network, gardens, playground, smart schools etc,” he said. Majority of works are yet to be completed.

For citizen activist Tejinder Singh Renu, Nagpur completely missing from recently declared results by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is a cause for concern as initially the city had been performing so well.

Renu feels it’s an administrative failure. “Despite having all the potential, Nagpur is not able to deliver on time. Being a member of the City Level Advisory Forum of NSSCDCL, I also share a part of the responsibility. We rarely have had any meetings in the past many months,” he said.

As per his knowledge, the project at Pardi, Punapur and Bharatwada in east Nagpur is not being implemented due to various reasons. “Whenever we plan development of a large area, local people are not taken into confidence about their rehabilitation,” said Renu.

He further said that the civic chief should frequently review NSSCDCL work and plug the loopholes.

Citizen activist Amit Heda blamed both administration and public. “The administration goes all guns blazing whenever such a contest nears or when there is criticism in the media. Unfortunately, it doesn’t monitor the work. The administration is controlled by corporators who only nurture political ambitions and seldom give priority to city’s development,” he said.

Heda said even the “negligent, irresponsible and careless” Nagpurians must share the blame. “They crib about cleanliness but make no efforts to keep their vicinity clean. Remember the slogan My Nagpur, Clean Nagpur?” he said.

According to citizens and professionals Neeraj Choure, Ashok Deuskar, Pratik Raut and Pratiksha Wasnik, NSSCDCL and NMC should involve citizens’ group in all such activities. “If citizen involvement is neglected, Nagpur will never be able to do well in such contests,” said Wasnik.

Wasnik stresses every citizen needs to know that a Smart City cannot function effectively and efforts will be wasted if people are not disciplined and do not follow standard procedures.

STATUS OF SMART CITY WORKS:

  • CCTV cameras installed at 706 junctions
  • 140 wi-fi points installled
  • Environmental sensors to show air quality index at major squares
  • Works under Rs650 crore tenderSure project in Bharatwada, Pardi and Punapur going on at snail’s pace
  • Project Home Sweet Home to rehabilitate 1,024 families affected by other projects yet to start
  • Little work done for facilities such as solar power, green building, sewerage treatment plant, rainwater harvesting, smart schools, gardens, playground, roads, stormwater network

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Proshun Chakraborty

Quelle/Source: The Times of India, 06.07.2021

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