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Smart planning & development key to creating Smart Cities

India: The 5th Smart Cities India 2019 expo, which opened on May 22, 2019, at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, kicked off a three-day long exhibition and conference that will see 400+ exhibitors and over 250 speakers addressing 40 sessions. More than 2,000 delegates are expected to participate in these sessions, while over 16,000 visitors will explore the pavilions during the course of the exhibition.

Speaking during a conference session on ‘Developing smart cities for our citizens’, Naresh Kumar, IAS, Chairman, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, said, “Smart cities alongside infrastructure and transport, should also focus on conservation as an important dimension. Technology integration can help make cities liveable and sustainable. With the increased level of urbanization, only smarter and modern solutions will enhance the well-being of citizens and Indian cities are at a stage where robust solutions can uplift them to be at par with other world-class cities.”

Anjum Parvez, Secretary (Municipalities & UDA), Urban Development Department, Government of Karnataka, shared, “The urban movement in Karnataka was anticipated by the local administration of Bangalore almost two decades ago. Today, an astounding 50% of the State’s population lives in the city. An initiative such as the Municipal Reform Cell was started in 2002 to combat the migration issue and build solutions around this problem. Smart cities are not just an infrastructure project and should not be treated as one in isolation. With the latest technology, proper planning and incorporation of citizen support, the State government can achieve this monumental success. Metro cities still have the capacities and the intelligence to devise solutions as per their unique needs; but it is the smaller cities that truly need the hand-holding of the local administration.”

During a session on ‘Accelerating Renewable Energy in India by creating more Bankable Projects’, Amit Jain, Senior Energy Specialist, World Bank Group, said, “On a macro level, India is considered as a bankable country when it comes to solar projects. But, given the current landscape, not all States are considered as profitable. Solar projects face an issue with regards to land acquisition and bankability in India. The country is still hugely dependant on agriculture and farmers consume 12 million electricity connections and 9 million diesel pump sets with which they pump up groundwater for irrigation. In some cases, this can account for as much as 30-50% of all the electricity used in the State. The World Bank has initiated many projects to uplift solar usage in India and hopefully, in the coming times, we shall see this renewable source being properly harnessed.”

On display at this year’s 5th Smart Cities India 2019 expo are state-of-the-art technologies relevant to building smart cities in India, including: Solutions for home automation/IoT; building intelligence monitoring (BIM) of smart buildings; green building solutions; water/sanitation technologies; environment-related solutions for pollution monitoring; urban planning and smart IT & communications; security systems; smart transport; smart grid, clean energy & energy storage devices, etc.