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‘Smart cities must build human capital’

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“A city’s first test for smartness is that it should build the human capital. A city should be built on the principles of equity and a digital platform does not discriminate. Smart cities should therefore provide digital platforms,” said VK Gautam, principal secretary (information technology), government of Maharashtra. He was addressing the Smart City summit organized by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC). Praising Nagpur, Gautam said it was the first to introduce a six kilometre smart stretch. “Elsewhere, Smart City project has meant only CCTV surveillance,” he added.

Anthony Thomas, ex-deputy mayor of Barcelona, echoed similar sentiments. “Smart cities should take care of the last citizen. If a common person is in any kind of trouble, the civic administration must come forward to help them. While Wi-Fi, sensors and infrastructure are important, providing basic civic amenities was equally necessary,” he said. Thomas further said Barcelona was living a social dream. “A smart city has to be socially and spiritually meaningful,” he added. Harish Chitale of Philips Lighting said Nagpur was one of the first cities to go in for smart lighting. “It has 1.25 lakh street lights whose annual electricity bill is Rs40 crore. In addition, there is maintenance cost. If they are replaced by LED, a lot of money would be saved. Smart LEDs will also have information about ambient temperature and help in traffic management,” he told the gathering.

Arun Lakhani, chairman of Vishwaraj Infrastructure, said Nagpur was becoming a smart city in true sense. “It has implemented 24X7 water supply project. Part of its sewage is being treated and used in Mahagenco’s power plant. The remaining part too will soon bee treated and used in NTPC and Mahagenco plants. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was impressed by Nagpur’s 24X7 water project when I had met him regarding Clean Ganga project,” he added. Mayor Nanda Jichkar too spoke about these projects.

Anil Nair, managing director of CISCO’s Country Digitalization and Acceleration project, said that with fast influx of people to cities, they will not remain manageable unless they were smart. Raghu Aluri, director of Nagarjuna Constructions, and NB Pujari of Bank of Maharashtra also spoke on smart cities. Municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar delivered the welcome address while Ravi Gupta of Elets Technomedia proposed a vote of thanks.

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