- Priyavrat Pandya, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ajmer
Ajmer has a vision of becoming one of India's leading tourist destinations. A good national and state highway network connects the city to other parts of Rajasthan and many important cities in India.
And now, having made it to the government's list of smart cities, Priyavrat Pandya, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ajmer shares the city's smart plan in detail in conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.
What are the recent infrastructure developments in Ajmer?
Recently, our smart city plan received an approval in the second phase for about Rs 1,947 crore. This involves several works from infrastructure development to public transportation and tourism as well as Green Ajmer. There are totally 10 modules under the smart plan. The first is promoting tourism. There are about 30 lakh devotees who visit Dargah Shariff and 5-7 lakh tourists who visit Pushkar every year. We are upgrading the city road and are developing Subhash Udyan as cultural park . This apart, we will promote public art and culture, tourism centre, etc. In our second module, we are developing the Ana Sagar Lake at about Rs 110 crore. We are making an open-air amphitheatre with LED lighting, and water sports activities, etc.
Additionally, there is an island in the middle and we will make a heritage walkway and a mega amusement park in the area. The third module is Green Ajmer - making the city greener, developing parks, jogging and cycling tracks and places for kids to play. We are planning to install rainwater harvesting in 55 public buildings and are installing solar panels in public buildings and open parks. The government has declared Ajmer as a solar city. We are also holding an Akshay-Urja show on non-conventional energy with an investment of about Rs 100 crore.
The fourth module is integrated infrastructure improvement. In Ajmer, water comes from Bisalpur dam, which is 100 km away. Now, we are engaged in smart metering, a pipeline, new pumps and ensuring that water reaches the tail end of the city with sufficient pressure. We have also made a small canal at Ana Sagar lake; in case of an overflow, it can act as an escape channel. We are also looking into solid waste management with RDF plant installation at land fill site; since April 1, we have started 100 per cent door-to-door collection in all 60 wards. Further, we are planning about Rs 125 crore worth of work on prepaid meters and underground cabling. The fifth module involves the modernisation of railway stations with a provision of Rs 300 crore. The sixth module is a taskforce management system. The seventh module involves making the city economically viable. We plan to renovate Patel Stadium and will enrol about 54 public schools in smart classes.
The next module involves ensuring WiFi connectivity and e-governance at about Rs 100 crore, including CCTV cameras to stop crime, multi-speciality hospital development and mobile healthcare services. The ninth module involves smart transportation, shelters and information centres for passengers, mini buses, IT centres, a multilevel modern bus stand and multi-level and open car parking, with a provision of about Rs 178 crore. And, the last module focuses on making the city safe and healthy with CCTV cameras for surveillance, a command control centre, traffic management and reduction of noise pollution.
What is the planned budget for the city?
The planned budget for Nagar Nigam is around Rs 350 crore.
This includes three major jobs under sanitation, public roads and lighting. One of our biggest projects at present is solid waste management. Other major works include the maintenance of city roads. Of 36,000 public lights in the city, 34,000 were CFLs, and we have converted them all to LED lights.
Tell us about the funds received and their utilisation.
We have received Rs 90 crore from the Central Government and Rs 167 crore from the state government. Till date, we have also received about Rs 2 crore for the preparation of the proposal. The project has commenced; we are in the second stage and work has started. As an alternative method for raising funds, some projects are also being executed in the PPP mode. So the total is about Rs 991 crore for smart city projects; there is a convergence with existing schemes such as HRIDAY, PRASAD, and AMRUT where we have received Rs 160.11 crore from the Centre. Additionally, and with all the ongoing jobs, Rs 748 crore will be generated from PPP/CSR. Apart from smart city funds, ULBs and loans also have about Rs 59.12 crore.
Any tenders in coming months?
By June 25, we expect to float tenders for various projects worth Rs 42 crore. At present, the DPRs for various works are under preparation, and work is going on under various schemes.
Any ongoing or upcoming projects under the government schemes?
With Rs 40.4 crore sanctioned, major projects are happening under the HRIDAY scheme. First is a heritage walkway, where we are doing the facade and other works such as underground wiring. We do not have a sewage line in the area so we are installing that. Then, there will be street lighting, street furniture, signage, dustbins and facade improvement along with parking area and public toilets. With about 40 per cent of the work completed, we have planned to invest Rs 5.65 crore in this project. Another project is the Ana Sagar lakefront upgrade; with about 20 per cent of the work completed, the development of this project will involve about Rs 12 crore. The third project is the development of Subhash Garden, which will amount to about Rs 8.6 crore. Next is the Jaipur Road Precinct work, amounting to about Rs 3.5 crore. There is also the Pushkar heritage walk; while the area has a lot of havelis, works are on for underground wiring, signage, street lighting, etc.
We have five works sanctioned by the Nagar Nigam under the AMRUT scheme as well. One is water supply, involving works worth Rs 30 crore. Then, we have sewerage and sanitation management, with works worth Rs 82 crore sanctioned. A team from Gujarat has come in; a team will be mobilised under the contractor and work will start soon on ground. Apart from this, we have plans for stormwater drainage worth Rs 15 crore. We are yet to receive the sanction for this but we plan to take it in convergence with the smart city project. We also plan to develop a Green Space Park on Foy-Sagar and Subash-Udyan for which we have received a sanction of Rs 2.5 crore.
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