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eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

On April 1 this year, in response to the writ petitions, the Judges of the Bombay High Court at Goa took upon themselves to visit Panjim city and check the ground reality and the extent of the pollution and problems that residents of Panjim are facing.

Referring to the report submitted by the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL), the division bench, comprising Justice Mahesh S Sonak and Justice Valmiki SA Menezes, in its order pointed out that the State government had issued directions that all the oangoing Smart City works will be completed by May 31 this year and it has to be complied with. The IPSCDL had agreed to complete all the works by the end of this month.

However, IPSCDL has now revealed that it will not go ahead with the construction of second Smart road from Down the Road near Old Patto bridge up to the Four Pillars Junction and will take a decision post monsoon. In October 2015, Panjim was selected to be one of the 100 Smart Cities in the country and even after more than eight years, the fundamentals of a ‘Smart City’ are far from being completed on the ground.

The core a elements for the Smart City include assured electricity supply, sanitation including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing especially for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitalisation, good governance especially e-governance and citizen participation, sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens particularly women, children, elderly people, and health and education.

With more than 12,000 water supply connections, Panjim city is covered 95 per cent by service lines. Panjim city receives its water supply from the Opa water supply scheme, which is located in Khandepar and caters to the Tiswadi and Ponda talukas. The Public Works Department has laid more than 45 km of pipeline to supply water to the citizens of the capital city, yet every year, including this year, Panjimites have to bear with short supply of potable water.

On the other hand, there is a growing concern about the Smart City being climate change ready. Nearly a decade ago, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) had formulated and suggested broad recommendations addressing specific sectors of the city in a report on Climate Resilient Infrastructure Services (CRIS) submitted to the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP). It delved into the quality, access and efficiency of infrastructure services of the city, as well as the magnitude of structural and economic loss that the city will have to bear in times of adversities. The study particularly looked at the impact of Sea Level Rise (SLR) on infrastructure and services of Panjim. The report stated, “Sea-level rise coupled with extreme events like extreme rainfall will lead to inundation, water logging and floods in the city.”

“Areas, like Ribandar, Patto, Fontainhas, Neugi Nagar, St Inez, La Campala, Miramar, Caranzalem, Dona Paula are found to be partially vulnerable. Ecologically sensitive areas like khazan lands, salt pans, sand dunes, creeks, and estuaries and also Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Major city roads, NH 4A and the Patto Bridge that connects Panjim to Ribandar and Old Goa are also likely to be affected, in case of SLR,” the report further stated.

The report indicated that urbanisation and construction in the vicinity of the creeks, Rua de Ourém and St Inez creeks, is exposing them to increasing pollution and would further aggravate the problem. The report further claimed that due to rapid urbanisation and tourism, most of the sand dunes along the coast in the city are destroyed.

On the power front, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had approved the proposed master plan to develop the capital city into a solar city under the ‘Development of Solar Cities’ programme. Panjim was amongst the 60 cities selected for utilising the alternative source of energy for electrification and the project was to be further taken up by the Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA).

Only three major aspects of the ‘Smart City’ have been highlighted here to point at the enormous work that is yet to be achieved if Panjim is to be transformed. Red tapism is one of the biggest causes of delays; and the lethargy in planning and flawed execution only add to the problems. While IPSCDL is the special purpose vehicle to execute the project, Goa government’s departments and the CCP are equally responsible to ensure the optimum utilisation of paublic funds and successful completion of the project. However, all the delays, lack of accountability and failure to put the interests of the citizens first raise an important question, ‘Is Panjim chasing an impossible, ‘Smart City’ dream?’


Quelle/Source: O Heraldo, 16.05.2024

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