The Smart city Mission, an ambitious program initiated by the Government of India was launched in 2015 and aims to transform 100 cities of our country into truly smart cities.
Pune also made the list and is now receiving funds for the speedy implementation of the Smart City Mission that is working towards transforming Pune apparently. by the year 2022.
A Smart City is only as good as its ability to deliver on fundamental needs for its citizens, say these experts and informed citizens Pune365 spoke with-
Arvind Gupta, Padma Awardee, Scientific Toy Maker and Science Expert : Initiatives like the plastic ban is definitely a welcome move provided it is enforced properly, unlike the last time it was implemented. I noticed water vending machines where we can refill our bottles rather than buying a plastic bottle.
But I think, in the name of smart cities often the slums are demolished, and poor people who stay near cities earning them their livelihood have to relocate and away from their source of income. The poor have as much a right to live in the city, as the rich.
Dr Hema Sane, Botanist and Naturalist: A city that has smart phones is what people thing is being a smart city. According to me, everything must be in a moderate and balanced proportion.
Every day, the number of vehicles is increasing. Rather than broadening the roads, stress on limiting or reducing the number of vehicles.
Moreover, from where are we going to source the fuel? Over consumption and exploitation of the finite resources have led us to extents that we had to ban plastics by law because of its harmful effects.
What about the air pollution? We will have to buy oxygen since there will be no trees left. In such circumstances, are we going to become a smart city?
Jaya Banerjee, Social Activist: We’ve seen our beautiful city grow and become home to so many, yet, has our city been able to keep up?
Yes, the PMC has gone digital, and has won many awards over the past few years. Does going Digital make Pune a Smart City? Technology will of course enhance the way the city is managed and will better administration, but has it made issue resolution better?
Public Infrastructure, Safety, Rapid Response, Effective and Timely issue resolution, Health and Sanitation, these are a few important aspects of any city to be a Smart City. The PMC and PSCDC have a great plan, however implementation of this plan is full or hurdles.
PMC talks about better traffic management through their centralised system, however on the other hand, accidents are on the rise, and accidents involving PMPML buses are on the rise.
One of the key aspects is Citizen Engagement, without which the true problems will never come to the forefront. The various activists in our city have always tried to bring to the forefront the various problems still existing and growing, citizen participation via Mohalla Committees and various Residents associations has increased and helped issue resolution.
These initiatives should be supported and be more citizen friendly. At the end of the day, the plan seems great, it’s implementation though is a question mark. Let’s hope to see a better and smarter Pune soon.
Joseph Pinto, former journalist and editor: I am 100% opposed to the concept of smart city – an elitist concept that is focused merely on infrastructure.
It is restricted, for example, to the posh areas like Aundh in Pune. Nothing in smart city to improve public transport or civic amenities around railway stations and bus-stands, used by ordinary citizens. Why not smart villages?
Bhavesh Shah, Entrepreneur: A city should rather be made sustainable, than only being smart. Smart city should be a priority, followed by making the city more sustainable.
Fundamental needs of the city is the need of the hour. In a city like Pune, which is considered to be a major education and IT hub, we don’t have basic infrastructure like 24/7 water supply, public transport system etc.
This is indeed pitiable. Ergo, focusing on how to build a smart city, authorities must focus on making it smart. However, speaking of the elements of smart city, we must have good and planned infrastructure, proper public transport, 24/7 water supply, open spaces and recreational centers, proper hygiene and better citizen safety.
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