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Interview


Vishnu Sudersan
"The Smart City model can lead to a better city planning and management and thus can achieve a sustainable model for urban growth. "

Sanjay Goel
Director, Ludhiana Smart City Limited

India Slowly Embracing Smart Cities

SANJAY GOEL, Director

Published in May Edition
The announcement of Smart Cities Mission in 2015 to modernise the 100 Indian cities is not just an ambitious project now but a need of the hour. Sanjay Goel, Director, Ludhiana Smart City Limited, discusses the importance of smart cities in the intensely developing challenges such as dynamic population growth, energy management, etc. and also shares the plans for sustainable energy integration in Smart Cities.

By Namrata Nikale Tanna, Oil Asia Journal

In 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Smart Cities Mission, a programme with the ambitious goal to modernise 100 Indian cities in five years, could you share how we are going so far.
Goel : The Smart Cities Mission introduced in June 2015 is one the chief ventures initiated by the Indian Government in order to compete for the global standards. India’s urban population is alarmingly rising at the rate of 11 million annually; this shifted the focus towards the cities making them a priority. As per India Spend Analysis of government data, about less than a quarter of central funds for major national programmes have been utilised. Up to February 2017, 3% of smart city projects were completed and until July 2017, the funds had been sanctioned for upgrading 12 heritage cities.

Further, work on sanctioned houses to meet the 16% of India’s urban housing shortage has been commenced and is expected to achieve the target by 2022. Smart City Mission is moving at a slower pace. In maximum cities, the same old teams are functional but with a different name.

There has been an increase in developing innovative technology solutions for resolving chief urban challenges for Smart City initiatives such as dynamic population growth, energy consumption etc., according to you how the smart city initiative will help in solving all the urban challenges?
Goel :: In the current circumstances, there has been a rapid rise in living standards and thus people are accustomed to comfortable living. Apparently, the increase in population as well as enhanced living standards, have alarmingly raised the pollution level.

The Smart City project deals with the factors like energy management, environmental monitoring, infrastructure management, information and communication technology, smart building, transport management. As cities continue booming tirelessly, their challenge needs to be carefully thought through so that population growth, economic development and social progress walk on the same track. Considering that the most of the global GDP is produced in cities, we cannot deny the fact, it is also in cities that insecurities grow stronger and if they are not managed propoerly the ill effects can overshadow the positives ones.

The Smart City model can lead to a better city planning and management and thus can achieve a sustainable model for urban growth.

May we request you to share the strategy – Smart Energy Management for the Future and also brief on how are we planning sustainable energy integration in Smart Cities?
Goel :The emphasis is on building a harmonious relationship between the man and the surroundings which concerns the environmental stability, thus, reaching a level of sustainability. Technology helps in improving the quality of life, creating communities that are more responsive towards the needs. In the long list of public goods and services that a city provides its inhabitants with, Energy is preeminent. The direct and the indirect impact that energy has with possibly every other sector, including critical ones such as water, transport, and industry make energy one of the topmost priorities when addressing the Smart Cities Mission. The focus is to invest in installation, indigenization, research, development, and capacity building in renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency technologies, and energy storage technologies enthusiastically. As the fossil fuels are a renewable source of energy, it’s important that a few technologies be considered for research, development and deployment through the transition phase from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy, especially the solar energy. The use of solar energy needs to be increased by a hundred times.

Could you please explain to us that how data building based on the real world which is based on the way humans interact with their environment, will prove the key to the smart city initiatives?
Goel :Using data and electronic sensors in this way is often referred to as building “smart cities”, which are the subjects to improve how a city functions. In a response to incoherent infrastructure design and urban planning of the past, smart cities promise real-time monitoring, analysis and improvement of city decision-making. The results will improve efficiency, environmental sustainability and citizen engagement.

According to you, which of the announced Smart cities have tremendous potential to implement the digital technologies that will make urban existence for its residents more liveable, efficient and sustainable and also create great avenues for clean power?
Goel : Chandigarh has a tremendous potential to implement the digital technology that will make urban existence for its residents more liveable, efficient and sustainable. Also, the cities that are currently dealing with the initial phase of development and lacks far behind in the run of development offers large potentials. Due to minimum earlier interventions, the scope for innovations is more. Transformation under the smart city project in such cities will be more distinguishable.

Is Digitalisation the future of India?
Goel :  Yes, digitalisation is the future of India. Considering the increased inclination towards the digitalised world as well as the changing world standards that counts digitalisation as a component of development, digitalisation marks the future of the country. The easy and comfortable user experience offered by the digitalisation technology has efficiently attracted the attention, as well as a major percentage of urban population, is adapting the changing trends.

Considering India’s strong commitment towards its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda and minimising carbon footprints via lowering its share of polluting fuels to 40% of its electricity mix by 2030, could you possibly share the suggestions to achieve the goal?
Goel :Efficiency and conservation are the keys to reducing carbon footprints. In the current scenario, it is essential to use the e – transportation facility, since the traditional transportation facilities majorly contribute towards carbon emission. We need to minimise the use of carbon-emitting fuels and focus more on clean energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy. We primarily need to consider choosing energy efficient electrical appliances that help in controlling and regulating the carbon emission.


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