The temple town of Varanasi may soon emulate Ahmedabad’s solid waste management system among other urban initiatives as it straddles to catch up with the tag of being PM Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency.
The town’s municipal commissioner was part of a 35-member delegation that took part in a 3-day training program for 13 municipal commissioner of all big cities of Uttar Pradesh like Varanasi, Agra, Aligadh, Jhansi, Ghaziabad and 18 deputy Municipal commissioners, city engineers and town planners of UP Government organised by the Gujarat Technological University (GTU) at its Chandkheda campus.
“Solid waste management is a challenge for us and providing water supply 24/7 and street light monitoring system is something we would like to emulate from Ahmedabad. There are very high expectations from people since it is the PM’s constituency, but we need to build more awareness and build participation,” said S P Shahi, who took over as Varanasi’s municipal commissioner a month back.
Shahi adds, “We have a grievance redressal system which we plan to make online soon. We have always had plans to start a heritage walk in Varanasi informally, but they have not been announced yet. Under the ‘Namami Ganga’ project, we have plans to clean up the full ghat up till 100 meters towards the city side and take care of the solid waste flowing into the river. This will happen not only in Varanasi but the 12 cities which have banks of the river and EoI’s will be floated for this work. We also have plans to have toilets, changing rooms and dustbins on ghats for and will be looking for ghat management practices.”
The UP government officials are in the city to take lessons on urban development initiatives considering that 13 of its cities have been earmarked for being developed as smart cities recently by the Modi government.
The officials were given a bird’s eye view of the a few successful urban development initiatives of the state including implementation of Town Planning (TP) schemes, heritage mapping and conservation, slum upgradation project, mobile e-governance schemes, greenfield projects like GIFT city among others.
“Nodal officers from these cities have come to Ahmedabad to look at all the urban initiatives taken here so that we replicate the same in their cities. We would also be looking at collaborations with the local municipal corporations and academic institutes like CEPT University and GTU as well,” said Alka Singh , deputy director of the Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies at Lucknow who coordinated the delegation from UP.
While the focus of the seminar organised by the graduate school of smart cities will be on retrofitting, greenfield developments and redevelopment, it saw talks by experts like former municipal commissioner P K Ghosh, Paresh Sharma, Chief town planner of Gujarat government, Surjit Singh- Secretary General of ISPER (Institute For Spatial Planning And Environment Research), Prashant Pandya, Deputy Director of SWM(Solid Waste Management) at AMC, CEPT senior faculty members like Sejal Patel and Shashwat Bandopadhyay, US Mehta- Advisor to state government, Sudhir Krishna, former Secretary- GoI among others.
The delegation would be visiting GIFT city, Gandhi Ashram, Sabarmati riverfront, the AMC e-governance cell at law garden, Kankaria lake front, take heritage walk, ride the BRTS and also have a tete-e-tete with AMC Commissioner D Thara on Saturday.
Moradabad Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Singh said, “The retrofitting bit of heritage structures which has been implemented in Ahmedabad is of importance to Moradabad as well. In terms of the pan-city initiatives- parking and managing traffic are definitely some lessons that can be enforced based on the examples shown here.”