Bhubaneswar smart city: Focus on sustainability

Bhubaneswar smart city: Focus on sustainability

The Bhubaneswar Smart City project is an initiative undertaken by the Government of India to transform the city of Bhubaneswar into a technologically advanced and sustainable urban centre. The project aims to improve the quality of life for its residents by leveraging information and communication t...

The Bhubaneswar Smart City project is an initiative undertaken by the Government of India to transform the city of Bhubaneswar into a technologically advanced and sustainable urban centre. The project aims to improve the quality of life for its residents by leveraging information and communication technologies. Key objectives include enhancing urban infrastructure, providing efficient public services, promoting sustainable development and fostering economic growth. The project focuses on areas such as smart governance, smart mobility, smart energy, smart buildings, and smart utilities to create a vibrant and inclusive city that offers a high standard of living and opportunities for all its citizens. Vijay Kulange, CEO, Bhubaneswar Smart City Ltd (BSCL), shares more with CW. What are the major initiatives undertaken by Bhubaneswar Smart City? The Bhubaneswar Smart City project has undertaken several major initiatives to transform the city into a smart and sustainable urban centre. One such initiative is the Bhubaneswar.Me portal, which serves as a digital platform connecting citizens, government agencies and service providers to enable seamless interaction and access to various services. The project also focuses on smart parking, utilising technology to manage and optimise parking spaces, reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility. Additionally, smart traffic management systems have been implemented to enhance the efficiency of traffic flow and minimise congestion. Solid waste management is another crucial aspect, with the introduction of smart waste collection and disposal systems to promote cleanliness and environmental sustainability. These initiatives collectively contribute to the city's transformation. How has Bhubaneswar Smart City leveraged technology and innovation to improve quality of life for residents and enhance infrastructure? Through the use of advanced technologies, the Bhubaneswar Smart City project has implemented smart governance systems that enable the efficient delivery of public services and promote transparency and citizen participation. The integration of technology has also led to the development of smart mobility solutions, as mentioned above. Additionally, a notable example is the use of the SAFA app for waste management. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) ICOMC tower serves as a central monitoring hub, where officials can track and manage waste-related activities through the app. By leveraging the SAFA app and the ICOMC tower, Bhubaneswar Smart City has embraced digital solutions to streamline waste management practices, resulting in a cleaner environment. These efforts have transformed Bhubaneswar into a more liveable and sustainable city, offering residents a higher standard of living and a technologically advanced urban environment. What notable smart infrastructure projects are implemented under the Bhubaneswar Smart City initiative? A notable project implemented under the Bhubaneswar Smart City initiative is Smart Janpath. It is designed as a dedicated pathway for pedestrians, cyclists and underground utilities, featuring vibrant public plazas, safe intersections, street furniture and designated vending zones throughout its stretch. The Smart Janpath plan includes streetscape design, beautification, landscaping, junction redesign and infrastructure enhancements, such as pavement repair, building restoration and the construction of new structures. With a total cost of Rs 79.56 crore, this project connects important transportation hubs like the National Highway, railway station and airport. Smart Janpath has contributed to the city's development by promoting sustainable and inclusive transportation, enhancing the overall urban environment, and improving connectivity for residents and visitors alike. How has Bhubaneswar Smart City engaged with the local community and stakeholders to ensure their participation and support in the development process? With the transgender community maintaining the parking lots, BSCL's Smart Janpath initiative is a wonderful intervention. In Bhubaneswar, BSCL has actively engaged with the local community and stakeholders by delegating control over parking fees to the transgender community, who were previously responsible for collecting holding taxes. This change not only secures their livelihoods of the transgender community but boosts their self-esteem. Further, BSCL has ensured employment opportunities for all groups, regardless of gender, allowing them to actively participate in the mainstream of society. By promoting inclusion and offering respectable lifestyles, this approach is a significant step towards mainstreaming the transgender community. Trans persons are now entrusted with the responsibility of collecting fines at Janpath parking lots, showcasing their valuable contribution. What measures have been taken to ensure sustainability and environmental responsibility? Are there any notable green initiatives that have been undertaken? Bhubaneswar Smart City has taken several measures to ensure sustainability and environmental responsibility. Notably, an agreement has been signed with Tata Power to install seven electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in strategic locations across the city. This initiative aims to achieve a 20 percent adoption rate of EVs in new vehicle registrations by 2025. By supporting the production of EVs and their components, fostering innovation and facilitating R&D, Bhubaneswar promotes a cleaner and more sustainable transportation system. To increase the city's green cover and aid in carbon sequestration, Bhubaneswar Smart City has also concentrated on planting trees and establishing a green corridor in the Smart Janpath neighbourhood. In the BMC-ICOMC tower, the smart city project has also implemented the use of solar power, reducing reliance on traditional energy sources and encouraging the generation of renewable energy. These programs show Bhubaneswar's dedication to environmental responsibility and sustainability in its smart city initiatives. Please discuss the challenges or obstacles faced during the implementation of the Bhubaneswar Smart City project and how they were addressed. During the implementation of the Bhubaneswar Smart City project, one of the challenges faced was the relocation of vendors in the Smart Janpath area. Shifting the vendors to other places temporarily disrupted their businesses. However, after the completion of the area, the authorities addressed this challenge by settling the vendors with kiosks. This approach not only provided the vendors with a new space but ensured a consistent and aesthetically pleasing view in the Janpath area. By organising the shops in a standardized size and type, the overall aesthetic appeal of the area was maintained while addressing the obstacles faced during project implementation. What role does PPP play in the development of Bhubaneswar Smart City? How have partnerships with private organisations contributed to the project's success? PPPs play a crucial role in the development of Bhubaneswar Smart City by leveraging the resources, expertise and innovation of both sectors. Partnerships with private organisations have contributed to the success of the project in various ways. One notable example is the establishment of the Skill Development Centre, a collaborative initiative between the government and the Lighthouse Foundation. This centre empowers underprivileged youth by providing them with essential skills to thrive in the digital age. Through this partnership, over 1,000 young individuals are impacted each year, receiving technical and life skills, job competencies and continuous mentoring. The centre offers free short-term programmes in various industries and provides well-equipped facilities for training, counselling and technology-enabled learning. The partnership has enabled the scaled impact of the initiative, benefiting thousands of youth from low-income communities and creating pathways to employment and economic opportunities. How do you envision the future of Bhubaneswar Smart City? Going forward, we can expect to see a thriving, sustainable and technologically advanced urban centre. The city will continue to prioritise environmental responsibility, with expanded adoption of renewable energy sources, increased green spaces and sustainable transportation systems. Smart infrastructure and IT technologies will be further integrated, enabling efficient resource management, real-time data analytics and enhanced citizen services. The smart city project will continue to foster PPPs, driving innovation and economic growth. Empowering its residents, Bhubaneswar Smart City will provide skill development programmes, digital literacy initiatives and inclusive opportunities for all. With a strong focus on sustainability, connectivity and citizen well-being, Bhubaneswar Smart City will serve as a model for smart and liveable cities of the future.

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