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‘We will develop Indore as a smart city, restore past glory’

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Indore Smart City project would be executed with area based development together with pan-city initiatives. We would develop the city adding state of art public amenities and restoring the glory of Rajwada, Krishnapura Chhatries and Chhatribagh besides developing a heritage walk area there. Under the project, there would be IT enabled smart solution to requirements of citizen of Indore. These were highlighted by Rohan Saxena, chief executive officer (CEO) of Smart City project and deputy commissioner in Indore Municipal Corporation, in an exclusive interview with this correspondent. Young and a competent officer of State Administrative Service (SAS) of 2007 batch, Saxena is specially selected for this his coveted post considering his deep and versatile knowledge and great administrative skill. Recently he was honoured by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his outstanding role in Simhasta fair 2016 at Ujjain. Here are excerpts of his interview.

Q. Why did Centre select Indore in first list of 20 smart cities?
A. We started our preparation for making it into the list of first 20 cities vying for Smart City tag for quite a long time. It was a big challenge. Our plans and proposals were submitted to the Union government which accepted it and Indore was selected in the first list of smart cities in February 2016. Since then we are working on our smart city project.

Q. What is your vision on Indore Smart city project?

A. See, we have a comprehensive view on smart city project. The project proposals include area development and pan-city initiatives. We have selected 7.42 acre area near Rajwada, through public opinion, covering markets and heritage monuments and congested roads and this area has highest density in the city. So our vision is to decongest the area, commissioning fresh drinking and sewage pipelines, laying underground electric lines, create lots of space for pedestrians and parking area there. We would be developing heritage walk space there and also developing Khan River front area. So in all quality of life in that area would be improved besides adding IT amenities. We would be putting some smart solution like smart parking, intelligent street light and road management system. So benefits of IT also there in the smart city project. So, it’s a holistic view, we would be improving the quality of life of citizens of Indore.

Q. Under smart city project, government of India would be providing only Rs 500 crore to the city, while the smart city project’s estimated cost is Rs 4900 crore. How would you fill the funding gap?

A. See, our smart city proposal worth is around Rs 5100 crore. We would be getting Rs 500 crore each from the Central and state governments. Plus we have two different schemes like Swatcha Bharat Mission and AMRIT housing for all scheme through which we would be getting another Rs 600 crore. We are proposing a development project near MOG line, where we would be providing land to a private builder who would develop a smart city there with all modern amenities and this would generate Rs 3000 crore. We have all the mechanism to generate funds to execute smart city project.

Q. What are challenges you face in execution of project?

A. See, Rajwada and its nearby areas are selected for area based development, which are oldest area of the city and culturally it is richest area. It also has lots of heritage spots, but basic infrastructure has been collapsed there. We are facing challenges to lay the basic infrastructure like water supply line and sewage line from that stretch of area which is highly congested. Removing encroachments and business establishment and getting land for developing parking spots are really a challenge. But despite of that we are proceeding in a right direction.

Q. When are you going to roll-out retrofitting development of Rajwada area?

A. Yes, our basic model is retrofit model of development there. Because lots of heritage site is like Rajwada, Gopal Mandir, Bankebihari Mandir, Kanchmandir, Krishnapura Chhatries, Chhatribagh are there. So we have selected these sites which are pride of Indore and as they are not well maintained, we would envisage in investing our money to rebuild these structures for their conservation, reconstruction and we are preparing a comprehensive plan for all of them. Once we are ready for reconstruction of these old structures then we are also planning for building a heritage walk around all these structures. Honestly, we want to conserve the heritage and pride of the city, identity of the city. Rajwada is the most important identity of the Indore and we have prepared a comprehensive plan for it. We would be restoring the lost glory of Rajwada. Soon the work would start there.

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