'Development, environment preservation part of Dehradun Smart City Plan'

Uttarakhand's capital Dehradun, also called the 'Adobe of Drona', is already famous for its scenic grandeur and beautiful surroundings. It is also renowned for its natural resources, public schools and educational institutions. After the city became the capital of Uttarakhand, there was a construction boom, especially in residential property. Gradually, modern buildings have supplanted older architectural styles.

Indeed, the city has witnessed a dramatic transformation from a quiet sub-Himalayan town to a bustling commercial centre. Not surprisingly, the land of Shiva has made it to the list of the 98 selected cities recently announced under the Smart Cities mission. Seraphina D'souza talks to Nitin Singh Bhadauria, Municipal Commissioner, Dehradun Municipal Corporation, on the city's growth, development and the corporation's plans....

First, congratulations on making it to the list of 98 selected cities under the Smart Cities mission. How do you think Dehradun can continue to keep up this standard and how will this change the future of the city?

Nitin Singh BhadauriaThank you for your warm appreciation. Dehradun Municipal Corporation is engaged in preparing a detailed Smart City Plan and proposes to involve various stakeholders including city residents. To make the plan more participatory and inclusive, we are going to invite suggestions and ideas from citizens and shall prepare the outline after matching the aspirations of the people with the vision in the proposal.

As the administrative centre and capital of Uttarakhand, what is the Corporation's role and how does it contribute to urban planning?

The roles and functions of Dehradun Nagar Nigam are as follows:

  • Sanitation and public health
  • Solid waste management
  • Streetlights
  • Property tax
  • Public works (municipal)
  • Urban poverty alleviation
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Issuing of license (NOC)

After Dehradun became the capital of Uttarakhand, there was a construction boom. What are the parameters or existing smart features that make the city smart?

The residents can offer suggestions pertaining to infrastructure services and smart solutions such as wastewater recycling and rain storm-water reuse, sanitation including solid waste management, IT connectivity and digitalisation, non-motorised transport (walking and cycling) including pedestrian-friendly pathways, safety and security including use of CCTV surveillance, smart and energy-efficient street lighting, innovative use of open spaces and smart parking management. Residents can submit their ideas on the Nagar Nigam website through a link that will be shared with other citizens.

What efforts and initiatives have you taken under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mission? Also, how do you see Dehradun contributing to the Make in India campaign?

The Corporation has already proposed a smart underground waste collection system that promotes safe and secure garbage collection. The solution shall not only change the method of garbage collection but eliminate open littering and overflowing bins.

Dehradun enjoys a fairly wet season with off and on rain showers. How does this affect the roads in the city? Are there any challenges faced?

The substantial rainfalls compel the municipality to define proper upkeep of city roads and various steps are being taken to improvise the quality and maintenance of roads. This includes the creation of concrete roads, pavements and non-motorised roads.

As you gear up to make the list of the top 20 smart cities in India, please share your plan to make a new special purpose vehicle (SPV) to run the entire project.

On the basis of various inputs received from stakeholders, including city residents, the selection shall be made on options that will be included in defining the plan of action. The selection of options will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports followed by tenders by the concerned departments.

What is Dehradun's hub of activities and where does the growth potential lie - business, tourism, or any other? Also, what is budget allotted for the city?

Dehradun, which is home to prestigious national institutions like the Survey of India, Doon School, Indian Military Academy, Oil & Natural Gas Commission, Forest Research Institute and the likes, is emerging into a busy, economically active vibrant city serving the state as a whole. Further, the natural environment is one of the most prized elements of the city, being situated in the beautiful Doon valley. The demands and challenges of development and preservation of its rich natural environment are being fully included in making a Dehradun Smart City Plan. The inputs are being submitted to assess the budget.

Tell us about any initiatives or changes incorporated that make you proud.

These include an IT-based grievance cell, development of city mobile application, implementation of e-governance, digital survey of land and establishment of an animal birth control centre.

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