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Bengaluru: High-tech City Embarking On Heritage Urban Overhaul
“Projects such as Redevelopment of Historic Economic Centres like Century old Krishna Rajendra Market Trade Terminal Building upgradation with all modern amenities which facilitates ease in doing business”, asserted P Rajendra Cholan, Managing Director Bengaluru Smart City Limited in a conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW Businessworld. Excerpts as under.
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Would you share with us of the key smart city projects of Bengaluru Smart City SPV?
Bengaluru is a planned urban city which is also known for being the centre of India’s High-tech industry. The city is chiefly characterised as being the largest Indian city with a lot of diversity for maintain the smart urban infrastructure. Under our Smart City SPV, Bengaluru Smart City Limited, we have total 38 projects worth INR 913.36 crores. There are 15 smart mobility infrastructure worth INR 535.63 crores, two Smart Space development projects worth INR 43.61 crores amongst prominent others.
Furthermore, projects including development of infrastructure promoting heritage and local identity at four different locations, worth INR 113.67 crores. The Smart city development plan also include improvement of new and existing healthcare infrastructure worth INR 76.89 crores. Our Smart City program also includes leveraging of integrated technology for Smart Governance worth INR 130.87 crores.
One of the main challenges of Bengaluru is their traffic conditions? What steps are being taken by the city SPV towards this? What has been the impact after that?
With an estimated population of 12,764,935, Bengaluru have an ever-rising challenge of poor traffic conditions with rising number of personal vehicles in the city. In a bid to curb adverse traffic conditions, Bengaluru Smart City Limited together with its relevant stakeholders have strategized a number of ways to mitigate the challenge. These include:
- The existing roads have been widened to the extent possible for addressing the present and upcoming traffic congestion.
- Dedicated Bicycle lanes are proposed along few prominent roads to facilitate the infrastructure for bicyclists and avoid the use of personal transport.
- The footpaths have been widened to the extent possible to encourage the pedestrian movement. Landscape Green Buffers are provided to the edge of the roads to create safe feeling for pedestrians.
Climate change is one component that MoHUA has been considering very important for assessing smart cities. How has climate change impacted Bengaluru? As a city urban authority, what steps are being taken to face climate change for urban livelihood?
MoHUA recently announced under Climate Smart City Assessment Frame work as one of the crucial component for assessing Smart Cities in India. Bengaluru City has been rated as three stars with 1271/2800 points under the following 5 indicators with recommendations
- Energy and Green Building
- Urban Planning, Green Cover and Biodiversity
- Mobility and Air Quality
- Water Management
- Waster Management
The assessment and recommendations reports has been forwarded to the concerned stake holders to take action. CSCAF is an annual assessment and the Climate Centre for Cities (C-Cube) will continue to provide implementation support for the same. C-Cube will also be available to assist cities in accessing technical support to formulate and implement measures towards improving the CSCAF performance and undertaking transformative actions.
What are prime challenges that you faced while implementing smart city in Bengaluru? How have you mitigated them?
There are several challenges that have faced during implementing smart city projects in Bengaluru. These includes:
- Live traffic throughout the clock. As most of the roads that are under Central Business District (CBD) and most prominent roads are being executed.
- The presence of improper network of utilities and these old system of services were in dilapidated condition etc.
- Lack of availability of labour and materials during the pandemic situations.
- Interdepartmental co-ordination.
We have mitigated them through a number of strategies, which are as follows:
- Night times, weekends, holidays, lockdowns etc. were effectively utilized for construction of roads.
- The new utilities were laid in parallel to the old ones and the same have been decommissioned.
- Maximum Local resources were utilized in a planned manner to fill the void created by migrated labourers who left the city in fear of pandemic situations.
- Successful Stakeholder Management has been planned through periodic meetings to overcome issues related to inter-departmental co-ordination.
Waste management is also a prime component for smart cities development. Could you appraise us of the unique measure being taken in this direction by the city spv, leveraging technology and budget involved?
Presently, the construction and demolition waste management plan has been prepared and the same has been circulated to all the agencies for execution and successfully implemented. Through proposed Integrated Command Control Centre, Bengaluru Smart City Limited is planning to integrate the GIS to the waste collection vehicles to tract their movement on a real time basis.
What steps are being taken for citizen engagement at local levels for smart city projects? What has been the response?
The city SPV has strategized a number of plans to engage citizens at local levels for smart city projects. Number of cyclothons have been conducted to encourage citizen engagement and promote the use of cycles. There was a wide response.
For certain projects like junction improvements, park developments, refurbishment of surroundings heritage structures through public consultations, law enforcement officials, have conducted before preparation/during DPR stage.
Regular City Level Advisory Forum (CLAF) meetings are conducted to interact with the Public Representatives to incorporate their views and opinions on city development through Smart Cities Mission.
A city is considered sustainable only when there is an economic viability. Is Bengaluru also treading in the same path? Could you share with us of how the city is being economically strong?
Projects such as Redevelopment of Historic Economic Centres like Century old Krishna Rajendra Market Trade Terminal Building upgradation with all modern amenities which facilities ease in doing business.
KR Market Junction improvement to facilitate organized movement for both traders and end users. This project Integrates modes of mobility.
Re-construction Meat Market for upgradation with all modern amenities which facilities ease in doing business. Development of area in front of Russel Market to create vibrant places for traders and public visiting the market.
Improvement to Shivaji Nagar Bus Terminal to connect multiple modes of transportation and the prominent landmarks in the city.