- Gajendra Singh Nagesh, Additional Commissioner, Jabalpur, and CEO, Jabalpur Smart City
It was raining applause when Gajendra Singh Nagesh, Additional Commissioner, Jabalpur, and CEO, Jabalpur Smart City, walked the stage at the recently held 4th Smart Cities Summit at Pragati Maidan in Delhi. It was a double victory: Jabalpur not just received the Role of Honour Award (given to city officials) but Nagesh was awarded Smart Leader of the Year. 'It is overwhelming for me to be here and receive this award,' he said at the event. He shares more in a tOte-a-tOte with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.
When it comes to developing Jabalpur as a smart city, what is your key focus?
This award is not for me but for every citizen of Jabalpur. Through the smart city mission, our aim is to establish Jabalpur as a hub for business, tourism, education and sports in our development area. We are trying to put together mixed land use, transit oriented development and other features to address liveability concerns. We are trying to establish zero mile connectivity through non-motorised transport (NMT), smart road and efficient and affordable public transport. To increase liveability, our approach is for inclusive society and sustainable development with many more smart features that can add in making the city more liveable, smart and sustainable.
Tell us about the key initiatives undertaken in the smart direction.
We are more focused towards the development of tourism. In fact, Jabalpur has around 1,700 acre of forest land in the city and we are trying to harness its potential. We are also trying to establish a spiritual village, a yoga village and an ethnic village. As the city is located in central India and surrounded by some tribal localities, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks like Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench with historical places like Khajuraho are also in the vicinity. Hence, we are aiming for the city to be identified and recognised as a prime location on the tourism map.
Tell us about projects and tendering opportunities.
We have completed M Governance software, ie, Jabalpur 311 Mobile App and J Card, which is a smart card through which citizens can avail services from the portal. We have finalised the monitoring system for garbage collection from every household and community dustbin based on RFID tagging for pan city. We have finalised the tender for door-to-door garbage collection and have established a waste-to-energy electricity generation plant of 11.5 MW capacity, which is operational since the last 10 months. Also, we are one of the pioneers in India to have started producing energy from solid waste with end-to-end solid waste management.
In future, we plan to take up many projects, one of which is the smart pole. The smart pole comes with six to seven features, including lighting, surveillance, billboards, air pollution meter, etc. The idea is to collaborate on services in a single place. Also, we are just finalising the master plan for the area-based development (ABD), which is around 745 acre. In this way, we are promoting people and entrepreneurs to establish their business in the city.
What is the total budget allocated for Jabalpur?
Budget as per our Smart City Praposal is around Rs 4,000 crore. In this, we have received around Rs 200 crore from the government, as well as Rs 500 crore from the convergence of AMRUT and other projects. Additionally, we are seeking bilateral financing as well as PPP projects.
What is your ultimate vision for Jabalpur as a smart city?
For Jabalpur, my main focus area is to ensure quality of life for every citizen. We want to give them better workable conditions, liveability and an environment where they can spend a good time with their companion. Along with the mixed use of land, un-motorised traffic promotion and public transport are the fields we have to work on.
Is there any other important aspect you would like to share from the smart city perspective?
Construction of infrastructure is one of the core areas for the Jabalpur smart city mission.
We are trying to establish better facilities for citizens, such as the sewage system and 24 x 7 water supply. Further, LED lights used to be a core area in the smart pole plan. Now we are planning to approach all projects separately and independently.
What will it take for Jabalpur to establish itself among the top five cities in India?
We are doing our best.
Jabalpur featured seventh in the government's list of top 20 cities. Also, the city has strongly contributed towards the Swachh Bharat Mission. So, our aim is to establish Jabalpur as the main city for India.