Madhya Pradesh: Spearheading Sustainability for Smart Cities

“In Madhya Pradesh the Urban Development department is already in the process of developing energy from waste materials massively in Jabalpur, wherein, a waste to energy plant has been established and about 800 metric tonnes of solid waste is converted into energy", asserted Parikipandla Narahari, Commissioner of Urban Administration Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, in a conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW SmartCitiesWorld. Excerpts Below:

Kindly narrate to us, the urban development initiatives that are being taken in Madhya Pradesh, under your stewardship.

In Madhya Pradesh, a king-size of our focus remains on the Smart Cities mission mandate, set by the Union Government of India. There are several smart cities in Madhya Pradesh and we are the largest contingent in India, when it comes to selected smart cities in initial days. Thus, going by the actual philosophy of smart cities, wherein, the smart cities were devised, we are in a phase wherein we are trying to figure out how cities can be transformed in a stipulated time-frame, which is where most smart cities are facing the challenge. Our focus remains on this aspect currently.

When it comes to Smart cities initiatives in Madhya Pradesh we have been able to execute a lot of projects and especially trying to convert cities with minimum resources and latest technologies, with the establishment of Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) we are able to come up with cities that really respond to requirements, whether it is garbage collection or traffic movement or smart poles and connectivity issues. In these sector, we are incrementally able to do a lot in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Apart from the Smart Cities initiatives we are one of the best states as far as Swachha Bharat mission is concerned. Being one of the pioneers, Indore is one of the cleanest cities across the nation, consecutively for the past three years. As a matter of fact, most of our cities, at least 40 of them have been able to make it to the top 100 cleanliest cities in the country.

Under the Amrut Mission, provision of drinking water, sewerage facilities for the citizens of the cities, AMRUT is another project wherein we are able to execute projects within a stipulated time-frame. In addition, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana and Chief Minister Housing Mission are other areas where MP is spear-heading and inching towards our goal, steadily.

Please give an overview of the most state of the art Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) in Madhya Pradesh.

Out of the seven smart cities that Madhya Pradesh has, Bhopal hosts one of the first Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC), which is eventually the best one in the state too. It is being functional for the last nearly last two years. Apart from Bhopal, other cities like Indore, Sagar, Jabalpur also have ICCC within their territory and Indore is doing really well in terms of modernizing and tech-implementation of ICCC in itself.

The very primary focus of having an ICCC is to ensure how a city goes smarter with the implementation of technology in the entire process. As a matter of fact, it should focus on empowering and benefitting citizens with tech-implementation. For example, these days for garbage collection all collection vehicles been fitted with GPS, which ensures that none of the corners of the city are missing on the day to day collection of garbage and disposal. In this way, we ensure that technology is a tool for Urban Local Body chiefs and their officers to determine the shadow areas where not much work is been done. This also enables us to determine the areas where we look into on a daily basis, so that 100 percent door to door waste collection and segregation happens regularly.

Thus, ICCC facilitates cities in monitoring regular cleaning up, making it congestion-free by monitoring the traffic conditions, enabling a smoother flow of traffic movements across the city areas.

Madhya Pradesh is beneficially located at the heart of the country and is known popularly for tourism. How is tourism affecting the state’s natural health and wellbeing, anyways? Your opinion.

As per Madhya Pradesh, tourism has never been a dampener of natural wellbeing because every city has its own tenability to bear and sustain tourism and its impact in a particular area. If optimum or minimum possible tourist influx happens in any particular, it adds to the economic value of the city and the natural well-being still remains in a state to be managed and controlled with measured steps towards it.

Besides, if the local citizens are educated and are aware of keeping their cities and surroundings clean these challenge of the influx in tourist numbers polluting environment remains nil. For example, in Madhya Pradesh most of the drivers and taxi drivers are the ambassadors of cleanliness in the city and restoring natural well-being here. Herein, they are trained and educated to tell to tourists and ensure that they behave in a clean and hygienic manner when they are in Madhya Pradesh. Educating our own people enables that the cities are not kept unclean or unhygienic when tourists are coming to town, thus ensuring a natural balance.

How is the Madhya Pradesh government combatting with the increase in traffic congestion, which is primarily challenging citizen lifestyle in almost all states across the country?

While technology is the best enabler and solution provider across location, in Madhya Pradesh, our Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC)s are the best possible solution to control and check traffic congestions in any part of the city. Cities like Indore which has about 20 to30 lakhs population, Bhopal with about 22 to 25 lakhs population are able to smoothly tackle an enormous amount of traffic, today. ICCC is not only an enabler but also has been a very efficient guiding tool in the hands of traffic police and city administrators, in order to ensure which way should we enable smooth traffic flow, which are the traffic junctions which needs to be decongested and other similar smart solutions. This kind of smarter ways of doing things when there is excessive traffic are enabling our city administrators to handle traffic congestions in the city, thus using more and more technology in our daily life administration.

What measures specific to solid waste management are being taken by the UD Department of Madhya Pradesh?

When it comes to solid waste management, we in Madhya Pradesh city administration are doing things in a step by step manner. Firstly, we ensure door to door waste collection on a regular basis, followed by segregation of wastes at source being the second most crucial step taken towards solid waste management. Then the dry waste and wet waste are collected at the source itself into separate bins and are been taken to the transfer station, where there are again two wings that handles both the dry and wet waste separately to the final disposable points.

Though our Material Recovery Processing (MRP) Centres also ensures separation of the material that is been collected from the Dry Waste. When it comes to wet wastes which are usually liquid or semi-liquid waste materials, these are converted into energy or it is converted to compost and is used for agriculture. Thus the remaining solid wastes are taken to the final destination point. In Jabalpur, waste to energy plant has been established and about 800 metric tonnes of solid waste is converted into energy. Thus, in these ways cities in Madhya Pradesh are able to handle solid waste in a better way.

Is Madhya Pradesh also working to adopt Electric Vehicles?

Absolutely. About 340 Electric Vehicles (EVs) are going to be pumped into five of our cities in the coming days. The government of India’s initiative has given us sanction of bringing in Electric Vehicles in our territory. The tendering process is going on and is in the final stages and we are hopeful to introduce electric vehicles in the city.

How is Madhya Pradesh UD department working towards generating its own renewable and reusable energy?

In Madhya Pradesh the Urban Development department is already in the process of developing energy from waste materials massively in Jabalpur, wherein, waste to energy plant has been established and about 800 metric tonnes of solid waste are converted into energy. This we are trying to replicate in other towns and cities parallel. We are putting up waste to energy plants in other towns, wherein cities like Indore generate about 400 metric tonnes of solid waste, Bhopal generating about 900 metric tonnes of solid waste which we are in the process of converting into energy. The energy generated from solid waste are used for our own purposes like the wet waste through the bio-methanation procedure generates bio-mass into energy for the running the door to door garbage collection vehicles, instead of running them on petrol or diesel.

In this way, Madhya Pradesh is working towards ensuring its renewable and reusable energy on a regular basis.