The Wine Capital of India, Nashik has a distinct character owing to its mythological, historical, social and cultural importance. The city has now developed into a metropolis as well as a flourishing industrial and educational centre and is vibrant and active on the industrial, political, social and cultural fronts. Praveen Gedam, Municipal Commissioner, Nashik Municipal Corporation, speaks to CW about the corporation´s initiatives and efforts...
What is the corporation´s role and contribution? What are the civic services it provides?
We provide services such as water supply, sanitation, underground sewerage, building permissions, town planning, building complexes and disaster management, among others.
What are the corporation´s plans to expand infrastructure?
We have a industry-friendly development plan and e-governance setup coming up, which will allow industries to get easy permissions. That said, we will ensure permissions are granted in a time-bound manner. We have also published a Citizens´ Charter regarding this. Local body tax (LBT) is already partially abolished, so the issue of additional tax burden no longer exists. We especially intend to help out certain industries, like the hotel and IT sectors, and so on. Besides, the corporation has undertaken several projects for the development of the city as listed below:
Where does the growth potential lie in Nashik?
Nashik´s plus points has always been the agro-based industry and the manufacturing sector. It has tremendous potential in service and IT-based industries and tourism as well.
What are the latest developments and upcoming projects in infrastructure? Also, for which projects are tenders to be floated?
We will soon start work on a water supply scheme of 400 million litre per day. Second, we will start the water and energy audit of the water supply system of the corporation, which will be followed by proper solutions to ensure better water supply across the city. We are also trying to construct two STPs (sewage treatment plants) to ensure that every drop of sewage is treated. Tenders will be floated for the STPs when we receive the approval from the government. Many road projects are ongoing as well, especially widening of roads; most of them are complete now. Soon, we will start online building permissions, and after Mumbai, we will probably be the first corporation to totally shift to ERP (enterprise resource planning), which is being widely used in the corporate sector.
What factors have been considered in the draft revised Development Plan of Nashik?
We have totally done away with unreasonable reservations; so now, we have fewer reservations. The policies on floor space index (FSI) and transferable development rights (TDR) have been made liberal and land owner-friendly. We are encouraging town planning schemes, more on an acquisition basis, where landowners are contemplated as equal partners in development.
How can Nashik contribute to the ´Make in India´ campaign and what are the city´s development plans under JNNURM?
We are one of the manufacturing hubs of the country. Some major companies like Samsonite, VIP, Crompton Greaves, Mahindra & Mahindra, Glenmark, Glaxosmithkline, ABB, Bosch, etc, are based in Nashik, so we are already contributing in a big way. Most JNNURM projects are complete now, except one project for underground sewerage.
In the context of solid waste management, what are the current activities to reduce, recycle, and reuse waste?
We have a state-of-the-art waste processing plant, which we propose to outsource so we will have 100 per cent treatment. Nashik is a clean and green city. Garbage is collected by vehicles, making it a 'garbage dump free' city.
A plant has also been set up by the corporation near Pandavleni Caves to process garbage and convert it into compost. The corporation has also made it mandatory for new constructions in the city to install a rainwater harvesting system, without which a completion certificate is not granted.
With regard to the National Mission of Housing for All by 2022, how do you see Nashik placed?
There are fewer slums in Nashik compared to other cities. The Development Plan includes the concept of slum rehabilitation in PPP mode for all slums including government and private lands. And once detailed guidelines are issued by the Government of India, the Housing for All project will commence.
What measures have been taken under the City Sanitation Plan? Also, what is Nashik´s contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan?
We are already one of the cleaner cities with 100 per cent garbage house-to-house collection and processing. We are planning to plug the gap of household lateral in slum areas under the Swachh Bharat Mission. We plan to increase the number of garbage collection vehicles as well as start an energy plant in a short period of time. We are hosting Kumbh Mela at the moment, which will be a clean Mela.
Please share one development you feel proud about.
All our work, with all the details, including names of contractors, amount, defect liability period and the photographs (before, during and after execution), are in the public domain, on websites, etc, which are visible to anyone. If that is not done, we don´t pass the bills. Not a single rupee is spent unknown to the public. Indeed, a lot of our activities are online. We have developed a versatile mobile app, Smart Nashik. Once downloaded, citizens can pay their taxes, put up their grievances, contact their corporators and much more. We are using a modern ´selfie´ attendance system for the sanitation of workers, wherein attendance is taken in real time and real location as well, hence there is no scope of forging attendance and not doing the work.
What is the budget allotted for the city? Also, what challenges does the corporation face and how do you plan to overcome them?
We have a budget of around Rs 1,200 crore every year. A major challenge, basically, is that the demand of work is more than the revenue. But I think this is everywhere, so work has to be prioritised.
Nasik City Corporation
Corporation: Established in 1982
Area: 259 sq km
Population: Over 16 lakh
Ward offices: 6
Civic centres: 6
Budget: Annual Rs.1,200 crore