The projects undertaken under the Smart City Plan will enable Solapur to catch up with other developed cities in Maharashtra and become one of the prominent cities in the state, believes Sanjay Teli, Chief Executive Officer, Solapur City Development Corporation.
What are the proposals lined up by Solapur Smart City to make it smarter?
We are working on many proposals which are unique in nature. Our main intention through smart city proposals is to encourage community gatherings similar to that of European nations. In this regard, we have proposed smart design projects for fort development, light and sound shows, lake-front development, etc. We expect these projects to create a visible impact to the domestic and international tourists. That apart, we are working on 100 per cent waste management, redesign of roads, modernisation of the old water supply system, strengthening sewage collection network and metering of water supply connections to cite a few.
On the road development front, Solapur currently has two national highways on which freight traffic is allowed to pass during daytime through the area selected for retrofitting, thus creating congestion. To avoid congestion, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) shall construct a 12 km road stretch and two grade separators at a cost of Rs 700 crore. In addition, we are also assisting the Indian Railways in preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for upgrading the railway station with multiple entry and exit points.
One of the major concerns of Solapur is potable water shortage. How do the authorities propose to solve this issue?
In Solapur, enough water is not available for households, leave alone industries, which becomes a barrier to economic growth. What little water is available is plagued by inefficient distribution and collection. Unlike other cities, our non-revenue water (NRW) counts for around 60 per cent. In our Smart City Plan, we are focusing on various measures to include smart metering, levying of user charges and installation of leak detection systems and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. We have set aside Rs 200 crore for these efforts. This plan will help reduce water transmission losses and bring in monetary benefits to the municipal corporation.
We have also augmented a Rs 695 crore water supply project under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). The plan includes intake wells, raw water pumps, express feeder lines, pumping machinery, 100 MLD treatment plant at Pakni and a 60 MLD plant at Soregaon and automatic metre reading (AMR) devices for all connections.
Other areas of concern are waste management and cleanliness in the city. What are your plans in this direction?
We have robust and financially-viable plans in place for waste management. The city generates 350 tonne of municipal solid waste daily. Of this, 85 per cent is collected and only 27 per cent of collected waste is treated in the 3 MW waste-to-energy (WTE) plant due to absence of waste segregation facility and grid connectivity. This public-private-partnership (PPP) plant is running at part capacity. So we have set aside Rs 34 crore to develop a 100 per cent waste management system.
This will include every activity of the system such as segregation, collection, treatment and disposal, including daily cleaning of streets.
Being selected among the top 10 cities under the mission, how many projects have witnessed progress?
At present, we have floated tenders for e-toilets, smart roads, command and control centres, smart kiosks, redesigning of the road sections to cover utilities and creation of walking space. For efficient use of public space, a detailed project report (DPR) preparation from urban design consultant is under progress. Also, the draft concept plans for Siddheshwar lake, light and sound show, night market and garden development are ready and under revision. As far as efficient waste water recycling and use is concerned, a letter of intent (LOI) has already been issued to an infrastructure consultant. That said, we have also signed an agreement with NTPC that offers consent to use 75 million litres per day (MLD) tertiary-treated water and free up fresh water of the same quantity for the city.
You talked about command and control centre. Since you have come out with tenders recently, how was the response?
Yes, we floated tenders for the command and control centre recently and the response was overwhelming. The work for the command and control centre will take place in two phases. The first phase includes the integration of traffic management. For phase one, we must have received more than 400 queries, where industry giants such as L&T, Wipro and Honeywell have shown their interest in bidding.
Statistics suggests that only 10 per cent of the working population use public transport, despite the corporation owning 200 buses. So there seems to be a lacklustre attitude for mobility. Your comments...
As far as the issue of 200 buses is concerned, it is subjudice and I cannot comment. However, I agree with what you say and would like to add that we are encouraging citizens to use public transport. Towards this effort, we are developing state-of-art bus depots, commercial complexes, around 140 bus queue shelters, smart parking lots and smart bus shelters with PIS and ATV machines, CCTV cameras and number plate recognition system.
Although the city authorities claim that the 15 citizen services are up and running, these claims seem to fall flat as the current position depicts a different picture...
I may not like to comment on this, however, let me tell you our plans. To enhance e-governance, we are planning for information and communication technology (ICT) solutions that will promote responsive governance and a progressive economy. Its physical components are SCADA systems, AMR devices, GIS-based asset management systems and other ICT hardware. In addition, multiple digital platforms (mobile app, e-governance portal etc.) will be launched for citizens to interact with the corporation. A centralised call centre and automated feedback mechanism will strengthen the redress system. This database will be integrated with the proposed MIS to analyse trends for further actions.
How have you bifurcated the Rs.2,247 crore plans? Which sector will gain more prominence?
We have organised our Smart City Plan into nine modules. For example, we have allocated Rs 34 crore towards 100 per cent waste management efforts for clean city and Rs 271 crore for clean environment efforts, including reduction in dust pollution and redesigning of roads. Meanwhile, maximum focus is on achieving efficient transport system for which Rs 975 crore is slotted, efficient water supply system for which Rs 379 crore is allotted and e-governance which is assigned Rs 280 crore.
- RAHUL KAMAT