Smart Cities: Experts delve into tech-based solutions

WB rep mulls prioritisation model; minister for behavioural change

With rapid urbanisation triggering challenges on many fronts for the stakeholders, World Bank Task Team Head Shashank Ojha on Friday advocated ‘smart solutions’ with technology-backed system for the development of ‘Smart Cities’. He was addressing the gathering during his presentation on the topic ‘Karnataka-Smart Cities: Pan City ICT Solutions and Smart City Solutions for Green Growth’, as part of a two-day workshop on ‘Smart Cities Mission-Karnataka’ planning and initiation meet for ICT solutions at Hotel Ocean Pearl in the city.

Migration of people
Referring to the increasing economic opportunities in urban areas causing migration of people and environmental challenges across the globe, Ojha said it is imperative to deal with smart approach as the urban population across the world is expected to touch 66% in the coming years. India is not far behind, he added. Pointing out that the World Bank is aiding 82 projects in India alone, Ojha said the list includes 100 smart cities, 500 cities selected under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) and also digital India programme to provide infrastructure for information and communication technology (ICT). All of these will be linked and leveraged with smart cities. To implement the same, Ojha pointed out the imperativeness of developing prioritisation model to take up works every year, besides developing a strategy.

Growing demands
Earlier in his address, minister for urban development R Roshan Baig said that while devising programmes with technological backup to meet the growing demands is the way to go for now, behavioural change on the part of the people is a must, to keep it ‘smart’ in the real sense.

It could be either checking open defecation for permanent or any other inert behaviour that may come in the way of successful implementation of the ‘Smart City’ project. By the year 2050, the urban population in Karnataka is expected to touch anywhere between 45% and 50% against the 38.66% according to a survey conducted in 2011, the minister added.

Role of stakeholders
Managing director of Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC) V Ponnuraj said, “People’s participation in every stage of implementation of the ‘Smart City’ project is a must, as there is no specific definition of the project. Most importantly, the cities selected under the project should be developed further to meet the requirements of locals, with the planning and design based on local topography.”

The two-day workshop has been organised for elected representatives and officers representing six city corporations including Mangaluru being selected to be developed as ‘Smart Cities’ in the state. The other cities are Belagavi, Hubballi-Dharwad, Tumakuru, Davanagere and Shivamogga.
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