Eying Smart City Tag: Panchkula civic body steals a march on its Chandigarh counterparthttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/eying-smart-city-tag-panchkula-civic-body-steals-a-march-on-its-chandigarh-counterpart-6005187/

Eying Smart City Tag: Panchkula civic body steals a march on its Chandigarh counterpart

The Panchkula MC recently modified its roundabouts to reduce the fatality rate in accidents at the roundabout by developing specially designed roundabouts and by beautifying them to improve the aesthetics of the city.

Eying Smart City Tag: Panchkula civic body steals a march on its Chandigarh counterpart
At public bike station in Panchkula. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

The Panchkula Municipal Corporation has already adopted measures that Chandigarh MC House is still discussing, and is aiming for the smart city tag.

“We are not a smart city but we are doing much more. Smart cities focus on their most pressing needs to improve lives. They adopt a range of approaches — digital and information technology, urban planning best practices to enhance performance and well-being to make a difference and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. Panchkula Municipal Corporation has already taken certain initiatives in order to enhance the quality of lives of the citizens of Panchkula and is fulfilling the parameters of the smart city. Hence, Panchkula Municipal Corporation intends to be considered a smart city,” Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal says.

E-governance & citizen services

Citizen Facilitation Centres have been established in Panchkula, Kalka and Pinjore by the MC, which provide all basic facilities and services such as birth & death certificate, marriage registration, property tax, and building plan approval under one roof at its Sector 4 office, the community centre of Sector 4.

Urban mobility

Non-motorised transportation: Aiming to promote use of bicycle and provide an alternative to the transport system, the Panchkula Municipal Corporation decided to start a public bicycle sharing system that the Chandigarh MC has been trying to implement for years but does not get any tenders. The project was completed in a span of six months. The cycle sharing system that has 200 cycles spread over 20 stations across the city has been operational in the city since August 21, and already has a total of 27,573 app downloads and sees 1,500 rides on average each day.

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Reduction in vehicular congestion: The Panchkula MC recently modified its roundabouts to reduce the fatality rate in accidents at the roundabout by developing specially designed roundabouts and by beautifying them to improve the aesthetics of the city.

GPS watches

The Panchkula MC decided to get GPS watches to track its workers last year and bought them by February this year.

Although Commissioner Jogpal says they are going slow in deducting salaries of people found skipping work, people who have damaged the watches to try and escape this fine, have had an amount of Rs 8,000 deducted from their salaries to compensate for the same. “We are waiting for Mohali and Chandigarh to start the GPS watch tracker system too. Till that happens, we have decided to go slow so that the Panchkula workers should not feel they are the only ones being monitored,” says Jogpal.

Waste segregation

In an endeavour to achieve the smart city status, the Panchkula MC has decided to make a solid waste management at Jhuriwala. Tenders for this will open soon. The Panchkula MC has also made it compulsory to start waste segregation at household level, non-compliance with which attracts fines. Since the initiation of this scheme, the Panchkula MC has already fined 143 commercial sites as well as households. Places like Tawa, Subway, Burgril, Easyday, Apna Restaurant, Black Diamond Bar, Hot Millions, Lavanya, Super Donots, and Lazzeez were fined for not segregating waster. As many as 250 parks/gardens are conducting onsite composting of their garden/ wet waste. Also, a waste segregation site is fully functional in Sector 12, Panchkula.

Soon to come

Intelligent Management System: The intelligent traffic management system which aims at modernisation will ensure smooth vehicular movement, emergency message mikes at light points and important points of the city and traffic light sensors/ solar lights to control traffic during peak hours. The city will become first in the Tricity to have such modernisation. The corporation has finalised a few designs with concepts which are functional in cities like Delhi and Mumbai. The concept includes speed breakers on roads connecting with the main ones, central command through intelligence traffic management system for smooth flow of traffic and swift management for emergency vehicles.

Pedestrian safety: A non-motorised, bell corridor consisting of a total of 31 kms would be constructed on main dividing sector roads, which will change the transport management system of Panchkula. Once modified as per the latest IRC norms, the upcoming bell corridor will do more than just move people and goods from one place to another. It would provide diverse and connected networks of transportation choices with safety aspects specifically beneficial for economically weaker section and for people seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Connectivity: As many as 53 bus queue shelters will be constructed which have already received financial approval. Two AC bus stands are in the process to be constructed. MC endeavors to provide all the services at doorstep through the use of high-speed internet connectivity, 15 WIFI zones to be created across Panchkula, 53 entry gates to be constructed in six wards.

Senior Citizen Home: Panchkula MC has decided to build a senior citizen home in the city with a total project cost of Rs 14.40 crore for which tenders have already been floated and were opened on Monday. This will be the first MC in the state to take such an initiative. There will be a total of 90 rooms in two categories — single rooms and family rooms with pantry and attached toilet.