Pasighat has won the Stage 1 of Indian Smart Cities Challenge and is now striving hard to be selected in the top 20 cities.

Deepak Shinde, Municipal Commissioner, Pasighat spoke to Urbana World on what opportunities the Mission holds for Pasighat.

Following is the transcript of the interview :

UW: What according to you is a smart city?

DS: A city that listens and responds positively to its citizens.

UW: This is the first time government is organising cities challenge for deploying of  funds for urban development of India. What is your opinion on it?

DS: It is a revolutionary change. On the one hand it has forced city administration to look inwards, assess their strengths and weaknesses and look for smart solutions while on the other hand the competition framework creates sense of ownership and partnership in not only the city administration but also residents of the city. This sense of ownership and partnership will go long way in ensuring plans and projects are implemented properly and public funds are utilized in the most effective and efficient manner.

UW: Has the SPV Been formed ?If yes, what is its constituion?

DS: Not yet. It will be formed only after selection of the city through smart city challenge.

UW: What major challenges are being faced by your city that you wish to address through the Smart Cities Initiative?

DS: Pasighat is the oldest town of Arunachal Pradesh. So improvement of core infrastructure like Roads, drainage etc. and augmentation of public services like water supply, Solid Waste Management are major challenges. Also providing housing to expanding population of Pasighat particularly economically weaker section is also a challenge faced by city administration.

UW: What financial Impact will Smart City development bring to its citizens? Will the cost of  living increase?

DS: Smart city will lead to economic growth and employment generation which will benefit the citizens immensely. Smart solutions using ICT will help in reducing cost of public services like water supply, electricity etc. Initiatives like e-city will definitely help citizens in saving their time and money as the entire citizen to government communication and grievance readdressal can be made online. All this will lead to considerable savings on part of individual citizens in all strata of the society. There will be major indirect benefits due to improved health and education infrastructure also. On the other hand user charge collection on services like parking and property tax collection will partially increase the cost of living.

UW: Which locality/ areas are you considering for Smart City Development (of Retrofitting/ Redevelopment/ Greenfield)

DS: We are considering High region area in which all government offices and houses are located for redevelopment and Market and surrounding high density areas like Banskota for Retrofitting.

UW: Where does your city stand amongst the 100 Selected Smart Cities? And why do you think your city should come in the first 20?

DS: If you consider the level of citizen engagement and participation, Pasighat with population of 24000 stands in Top 20. Pasighat which is strategically located town in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh is transit point for all border districts in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Better Road, Rail and Air connectivity augurs well for the development of Smart City. Further natural beauty of Siang river and dawn lit mountains of Arunachal Pradesh hold tremendous potential for development of Tourism hub in Pasighat.