Our success serves as a model for other aspiring cities
SMART CITIES

Our success serves as a model for other aspiring cities

Amit Kumar (IAS), Director, State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) and Director Cum CEO, Ranchi Smart City Corporation (RSCCL), Government of Jharkhand Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, won the India Smart City Contest Award for Urban Development Excellence at the India Smart City Conclav...

Amit Kumar (IAS), Director, State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) and Director Cum CEO, Ranchi Smart City Corporation (RSCCL), Government of Jharkhand Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, won the India Smart City Contest Award for Urban Development Excellence at the India Smart City Conclave. It won the ‘Best Performer City’ in the eastern zone. R SRINIVASAN spoke to Amit Kumar (IAS), Director State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) and Director Cum CEO, Ranchi Smart City Corporation (RSCCL), Government of Jharkhand, to learn more. What helped you bag the prestigious award? Ranchi Smart City bagged the Best Performer Smart City award (Eastern Zone) for 2022 at the India Smart Cities Awards Competition in Indore. The factors that contribute to a city receiving this title includes: Effective implementation: Successful execution of all smart city projects within the stipulated time frame and budget, demonstrating efficient project management and delivery. Regular expenditure: Expenses show continuity of work; hence, this is another important parameter of the city’s evaluation. Ranchi Smart City is continuously executing projects towards completion, resulting in continuous flow of cash. Citizen engagement: Active participation of locals in planning and execution of projects, ensuring that initiatives align with their needs. City level advisory meetings are also regularly organised. Participation in events: The city participates in Smart City events like Learnathon, Cycle for Change, Streets for People, Transport for All, etc. Can you provide an overview of the Ranchi Smart City project? The project is part of the government’s Smart Cities Mission, which aims to transform some cities into technologically advanced and sustainable urban centres. Ranchi was selected in 2016. Key objectives encompass economic growth, better quality of life, smart infrastructure, citizen engagement and recognition of its achievements. The project serves as a model for other parts of Ranchi as well as other cities. Please mention initiatives that enhanced traffic management. The Ranchi project is developing a greenfield township on 656 acre of land in the ABD area with the development of 21 km of new road networks with footpaths, bicycle tracks, stormwater drainage and underground utility duct. Water supply and wastewater management, underground electrical lines and power distribution network are also being laid for the upcoming infrastructure of the township. The area is visualised as a pedestrian-friendly, mass-transit corridor with transit-oriented development with no overhead wires. A state-of-the-art command centre will ensure timely delivery of various urban services to citizens. It encompasses three main broad components: Under the intelligent traffic management system (ITMS) a customised signal coordination algorithm enables the city to use real-time data to create a green transit corridor in case of an emergency or for VIP movement at any point of time. To promote non-motorised transport (NMT) as last-mile connectivity, a public bicycle sharing (PBS) system is being implemented on PPP mode. The first phase began in March 2019, with 600 bicycles and 60 docking stations covering an area of 11.5 sq km. These initiatives aim to improve traffic management, promote sustainable transportation through cycling, enhance awareness about road conditions and ensure safety and wellbeing of residents and visitors. How has technology been leveraged in your smart city? Development of the smart city has heavily leveraged technology to enhance urban services, improve infrastructure and make the city more efficient and liveable. Under ITMS these technology are used: Real-time traffic data analysis to optimise traffic signal timings and reduce congestion AI-based automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to monitor and manage traffic violations Red light violation detection (RLVD) and speed violation detection (SVD) systems E-challans for management of integrated traffic violation fines Adaptive traffic control system (ATCS) to adjust traffic signals based on real-time conditions. Under the PBS system, the following technology is being used: GPS-enabled bicycles and docking stations for real-time information on bike availability Mobile app for users to unlock and rent bicycles thus promoting eco-friendly transportation. Public announcement system updates users on a real-time basis: Offers real-time road condition updates, alternative routes, weather forecasts and government policy information Citizen-centric emergency systems include an emergency call box (ECB) system, mobile app and a 24x7 helpline number: The ECB system includes a two-way communication system at 50 locations for emergencies The helpline number offers round-the-clock support related to health, fire, ambulance, police and other civic services. The mobile app includes an SOS feature for immediate assistance in emergency situations. It records seven seconds of video and sends notifications to the command centre with the video along with location details during emergencies. Technology use in the ABD area: Ranchi smart city is using technology to plan, monitor and execute projects, including roads, wastewater management, water and power supply. SCADA technology is used in water and power supply. Street-lights with vehicle sensors will control light intensity as per vehicular traffic flow. Gas insulated switchgear (GIS) substation technology is being implemented for efficient and reliable power supply. Technology in e-auction of plots: The portal facilitates end-to-end transparent faceless auction of plots under the ABD area without any human intervention. How were challenges during the plan overcome? While the project has made significant progress, it is important to acknowledge that smart city initiatives also faced several challenges. Land acquisition and master planning, interdepartmental coordination, DPR approvals, unavailability of real-time data while planning and the lockdown after the COVID outbreak were some of these. Thorough groundwork was done right from data collection and land survey and regular meetings with other departments were held to push the projects to mitigate the challenges faced during implementation. Also, the timeline of projects was extended to compensate for the delay caused by COVID. A high-power steering committee was also incorporated under the chairmanship of the chief secretary for fast decision-making. In what ways has it enhanced quality of life for residents? The project aims to enhance the quality of life for residents through initiatives, which include improving infrastructure, urban services and living conditions. For instance: Infrastructure: State-of-the-art infrastructure include road networks, water supply, wastewater management and power distribution to provide reliable and efficient services to all residents of the ABD area. Traffic management: Implementing the ITMS to reduce congestion and improve transportation within the city, benefitting all residents. Public safety: Enhancing safety measures with the installation of CCTV cameras, ECB and mass communication systems to improve overall security. Housing and amenities: Ranchi Smart City has prepared a master plan for the ABD area. Around 15,500 dwelling units are to be developed with one-third going to EWS and LIG families. The plan is prepared with a vision for a population mix from EWS to HIG. Sustainability: Implementing measures including a green buildings initiative, 10 per cent energy from solar power and reuse of recycled water. What are the key takeaways for other cities from your project? The project offers key takeaways and lessons that other cities in India and around the world can consider when implementing city initiatives: Safety and security: Ensure that residents have easy access to emergency assistance. Affordable housing: Implement housing options particularly for slum residents to improve living conditions without displacement. Public awareness: Conduct public awareness campaigns to educate residents about new services and technologies, encouraging their adoption. Financial sustainability: Develop revenue models and long-term financial plans. Ranchi is eyeing revenue of Rs 25 billion from auction of land. Further, it can collect taxes in the ABD area. The success of Ranchi's project serves as a model for other cities looking to harness technology and innovation for sustainable urban development.

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