Besides big cities claiming their successful start in the Smart Cities Mission, Chhattisgarh’s three cities- Raipur, Atal Nagar and Bilaspur- have showcased a remarkable progress in innovation planning initiatives and citizen-centric governance. By intelligent conceptualisations and meticulously working towards earning the smart city tag, each city has carved an identity for itself. Here is how these cities are redefining India.
Going by the tagline of the capital of Chhattisgarh ‘Mor Raipur’ (meaning my Raipur), Raipur promotes the idea of involving its citizens in the process of developing the city. It is on this very idea that the municipal authorities have chosen to move forward and transform the ancient Raipur into a smart city.
To suffice this, a well-thought plan for the redevelopment of the old Jawahar Bazaar’s weak wall is an apt example. The stakeholders were presented with different plans which were worked out by the authorities with its pros and cons. 170 shopkeepers in the area willingly settled for it as they were given the freedom of allocating their own shops within the legal framework. The project turned out to be the biggest market redevelopment projects undertaken by any of the smart cities in the country. Besides, projects like 5 am Army, Think Raipur and Teach for Raipur, Nekki Ki Dewaar and Selfie with Plant were highly appreciated.
What was once a stretch of barren land with just a few villages, today stands as India’s first integrated greenfield smart city. Atal Nagar’s exceptional planning and visionary initiatives have been claimed as one of the best in the country. The eco-development projects have made it mandatory for every building in the city to be equipped with rainwater harvesting, solar energy and internet connectivity. Also, the innovative utility corridor ensuing underground will enable services like water supply, sewerage, telecom and electricity. With the aim of making the city smart and green, nearly 27 per cent of the land has been earmarked for afforestation and other green initiatives, and every street of Atal Nagar has a network of controlled energy-efficient LED lights with cycling tracks to encourage non-motorised commute system. Atal Nagar is a zero discharge city with decentralised sewage system and advanced water management projects. Atal Nagar’s Jungle Safari, which is a man-made forest safari in the cityscape precincts, is Asia’s largest safari. In the near future, the digital utility services will ensure transparency through online accountability of all public offices just by linking one’s mobile number to the system.
Right from upgrading public services like healthcare, housing and infrastructure to implementing environment-friendly public transport alternatives, Bilaspur is working intensively towards its smart city dream. Being a part of the Centre’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Bilaspur is receiving a major facelift in areas like water supply, sewerage and septage management, stormwater drains, pedestrian comforts, non-motorised and public transport facilities, green space, parking spaces, parks and recreational centres. In order to reduce the operations and maintenance (O&M) costs and improve the service delivery, the entire city is divided into 502 grids. Here, each grid is manned by proportionate personnel and machinery that has resulted in optimisation of existing manpower. In order to supply endless electricity and water supply, the city’s municipal authorities are incorporating smart metering and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and measures like redesigned storm-water system, hydrological information system and adopting rainwater harvesting, respectively. With a capacity of 200 tonne per day, the recently integrated solid waste management plant ensures 0.2 million kilo of waste that is generated by the city is turned into utility products through recycling. Also, to meet the energy requirements, the city is vouching for solar plants and rooftop solar panels. To bridge the gap between the people and the administration, City-Jan card was issued to its citizens in order to integrate various e-governance and public services. One can make use of the smart bus and parking facilities, re-charging stations and Rent-a-Cycle scheme using this card across the city. The city has identified nine new vending zones, from where the vendors would be operating out of modular vending kiosks that are optimally integrated with an online payment and allocation platform. The city has sanctioned 500 e-rickshaws through subsidy and National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) in order to phase out the regular diesel-intensive and cycle rickshaws. Bilaspur recently became the first city in the state to start a first-of-its-kind GIS-based manual and mechanical sweeping project under the Smart Cities Mission in convergence with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.