Mangaluru: The 2nd Sustainable Smart Cities India 2015 Mangaluru Edition opened today at the Dr TMA Pai International Convention Centre. This exclusive two day international conference is organized by Mangalore City Corporation in association with Nispana Innovative Platforms, a global business company headquartered in Bengaluru. The conference also features Manipal Group as co-hosts and the Association of Civil Engineers (India), Smart City India Foundation and CREDAI Mangaluru as supporting partners.
Addressing the gathering, Managing Director of Nispana Innovative Platforms, Narendra Kumar said that the two day gathering will bring in global knowledge and expertise to ensure that the city is selected at the second stage of the Smart City Challenge.
The conference was inaugurated by the Deputy Mayor of MCC Purushotham Chitrapura, Dr H N Gopalakrishna (Commissioner of MCC), Pro Chancellor of Manipal University H S Ballal in the presence of other distinguished guests and personalities by cutting the ribbon and lighting the traditional lamp. Dr H N Gopalakrishna welcomed the gathering.
Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district, A B Ibrahim envisioning Mangaluru in the top 20 list of smart cities, said that Mangaluru has a rich and long history of more than 2000 years that makes each of its citizens proud. Ibrahim shared the history of Mangaluru as an important trading landmark on the West coast of the country since the times of the Greeks, to Arabs, Portuguese, British and the present. “Mangaluru already has the qualities to be selected in the first phase of the smart City Challenge. It has entrepreneurship, nationalised banks, hospitality sector and education that can rival even the cities of advanced countries. We have eight medical colleges itself in the city, and very few cities in the world have so many colleges in a city. The population of the city is also stable, with low birth rates, low infant mortality, a huge human resource and very low urban-rural migration rate unlike other cities in the country. The interaction and active participation from the people has also been good, with around 43,000 feedback from the people on the changes, improvements needed to make our city smart. All these factors play in favor to make Mangaluru a smart city, and make it a benchmark for other cities in the country.”
DC further said that while making Mangaluru a smart city is good, there are also concerns that have to be dealt with during this process. “Firstly, our city contains a very diverse population, with people from various religions, castes, creed, etc. The smart city project should not let down the poor. It should not be a project for just the industrialists, builders, etc. It should involve all the people of the city, from the lowest strata also; they too should get the benefits of this. Secondly, comes the democratic fabric. This project should encompass all features that have been put forth so that the ethos and aspirations of all the people are fulfilled, reinforcing the democratic setup that we believe in. Ward committees need to be formed so that there is regular interaction with the common man. Today, in most of the towns, there is a kind of ‘urban mafia’ that hijacks the city’s development; this should not happen. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been proposed for smart cities. The SPV does not take into account the people’s aspiration. What is the role of the Mayor and the councillors when the SPV takes decisions by itself? This concern need to be addressed to improve the urban-civic infrastructure which has been crumbling,” said Ibrahim.
Dr Ravindra from Smart Cities Foundation spoke about proactive policy formulation for smart cities. He also said that ever since the Smart City mission was announced, there has been a big buzz in the country. “One good thing that has come out of this is that people have become aware of not just smart cities but developing cities in general. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the people and everyone is competing to list in the first 20 cities. The main advantage of Mangaluru is that it has smart people. The education here has improved a lot, even in rural areas. This makes Mangaluru a natural choice, but choices are not made naturally for this mission. There is a certain procedure, fixed criteria and standards that a city needs to meet to get selected. Administration is also an important factor since unless there is a good administration, there cannot be development.” For the people to understand the true meaning of a smart city, he said that the Kannada equivalent for a smart city would be “Samartha Nagara” – this reflects the spirit of a smart city, a city that is able and efficient in all aspects like infrastructure, mobility of transport, education, livability. Deputy Mayor Purushotham Chitrapur released a Smart City primer created by Dr Ravindra to educate the masses about smart city.
R K Misra from the Center for Smart Cities presented the topic “Strategic plan for developing Tier II cities as smart cities” while the “Tel Aviv Smart City strategies” was presented by Director of Tel Aviv Yafo Municipality Gideon Schmerling. P V K Rameshwar from Shilanayas Design Consultants spoke about riverfront area based development. The panel discussion on “Roadmap for Mangaluru as a smart city” had huge participation from all the attendees. More than 600 people witnessed visionary presentations from renowned national and international experts.
A Swachhta Pledge was taken by the gathering to keep the city clean and spread the message of cleanliness. Mementos were presented to the dignitaries. MCC Joint Commissioner Gokuldas Naik delivered the vote of thanks.
This immense gathering also featured solutions showcasing from technology providers like Supreme, TUV Rheiniand, Blue Star, EnvOne Technologies. There was intensive networking amongst the attending delegates, speakers and dignitaries. This was also by far the biggest gathering in Mangaluru comprising of 100 officials from the Mangaluru City Corporation, 50 officials from CREDAI Mangaluru and other government officials, MLA’s, Commissioners, Deputy Mayor, District Municipal bodies, policy makers, industrialists, students, association members and varied participants from different parts of the country like the Gandhinagar Municipal Council, the Tumakuru Municipal Corporation, etc.