Not Just a POLE, It’s a SMART POLE & 15 of them to be Installed in Smart City! But, Do We Really Need Them?
Mangaluru: One thing for sure, when there is money pouring in from the Central government on Smart City Projects, along with added tax payers money, it has been a habit for our Smart Officials in Mangaluru Smart City Ltd (MSCL) to spend it on some GOOD/USEFUL projects, and also in the same time, on BAD/USELESS Projects, like the one this article highlights. When the Smart City is in desperate need of Good Footpaths, Scientific Roads, Better Drainage System, etc etc, what is the need in hurrying up with project like this one- which hardly benefits the society-the citizens, which includes Motorists and Pedestrians. The experimental launch of this project called “SMART POLE’, costing around Rs 5 lakhs each is set up near the Mallikatta Bus Shelter, Mangaluru- and as always either with MSCL or MCC projects, nothing is done right the first time- and so with this installation of Smart Pole.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Er Arun Prabha- General Manager (Technical) at MSCL said, ” Mangaluru Smart City Ltd.(MSCL) has launched smart poles project in Mangaluru City under the Smart Cities Mission. The project is innovatively structured in such a manner that it delivers bundled smart services to citizens and maximum values for money to the city authority. Mangaluru Smart City has decided to install 15 Nos. Smart poles, in main Junctions across the city. MSCL has chosen the smart pole location keeping in mind the high foot fall areas, important junctions, vehicular traffic and call drop areas so that the maximum benefits can be obtained”
He further said, “Smart Pole offers multiple services to the city residents. The integral parts of the smart pole are: Smart pole has telecom tower infrastructure to match with city aesthetic and ready to accommodate upcoming technology as 4G and 5G; Full Colour Variable Messaging Sign (5 ft x 3 Ft); Wi – Fi hot spot services for the city; Surveillance cameras for safety and traffic violation detection; Public Address system; Mobile based application with functionality of SoS; Centralizes Command and Control center for monitoring the implementation of smart solutions; and Optical fiber for better bandwidth to the Wi-Fi users/providing back haul to telecom operators. Provisional (Option)- Electric Vehicle charging points to promote use of electric vehicles in the city; USB Chargers for Mobile; Environmental Sensors to monitor Air-quality, temperature and humidity (Optional); and Energy efficient and remotely controllable LED Street Lights – (based on Centralized Control & Monitoring System)”
“The benefits of Smart Pole are- Unlike the conventional tower, Smart pole looks good and matches with city infrastructure. It has the telecom power infrastructure in built to facilitate telecom operators to place their equipment; Smart pole has UPS to eliminate Diesel generator as secondary power source. UPS battery provides the back up during electricity outage; Wi-Fi connectivity at 15 Hot Spots locations, where city resident foot fall is increasing. It provides free Wi Fi for defined time periods to the registered users; Optical fiber networks across the city ensures robust connectivity and enable the city to accommodate future technologies. It will also help to establish connectivity between Government departments, City infrastructure and Command & Control Center; Camera surveillance ensures the safety, security and traffic management in the city.”
“Digital advertising panels across the city through smart bill boards will keep the city residents updated with city information and provide the platform to the corporates for promotion; SOS application for emergency, distress, citizen’s response system will facilitate the city residents with quick response in case of emergency; Mobile application for citizen services will help the citizens to use the government service through smart phone. Provisional (Option) – Charging points for Mobile will help the citizens on move; and Charging facility for electric vehicles through EV Charging Points will encourage the use on electric vehicle which will help to reduce carbon foot print” added Er Arun Prabha.
Well said by Er Arun Prabha narrating the benefits of Smart Pole- but how far this Smart Pole will really help the motorists and the citizens/pedestrians is a million dollar question. Because we have seen hardly any motorists follow the instructions/messages/warnings etc that get displayed on the Traffic Police LED Display Boards installed in the City in 2018. (Ref: Traffic Police LED Boards to Alert Motorists! But How Far Will They Be Useful? ) . We have seen in the past, brand new traffic lights went out of order within few days, and until now they are totally dead; and in 2018, they installed LED boards at a couple of prominent locations in the City, like one near Dr Ambedkar/Jyothi Circle, and another one near Nanthoor Junction, to alert motorists about traffic jam/snarls, and also awareness slogans on traffic safety and environment. But these LED boards with flashing messages were not so helpful to motorists, because while they are driving/riding fast they can hardly read the messages? And also we have seen in the past, once something breaks down/not working, it will be a long time before it is fixed or NOT fixed at ALL? And I am very much sure, the same will be the case with the SMART POLE?
Now here’s a funny thing that I want to highlight as to how Smart our Officials are- On Thursday, while the engineers and contractors were installing the First Smart Pole near Mallikatta Bus Shelter, Yours Truly of Team Mangalorean noticed there was some thing wrong in the work. Instead of the display board and the cameras which were suppose to face the Mallikatta Circle, were seen facing the Jugul Building- and that was due to the faulty work of the contractors while constructing the base. The base didn’t suit the bottom of Smart Pole, and therefore it was turned a wrong way. It’s only when Team Mangalorean pointed out the “Basic Error”, that one of the crew member of the Zeus Smart Pole Co, sent one of the workers to the top of pole, and made him to turn the cameras to the right angle. But nothing could be done to the Display Screen-which has to be dismantled and fixed on the right direction. This is what you call the Not So ‘SMART’ work of our Smart Engineers/Officials. Oh well, nothing much could be done-after all its the money going down the drain with such faulty work.
Finally, now that this Smart Pole is installed on a test try basis at Mallikatta, I want to ask the person or persons behind this Smart Pole idea which alerts motorists on traffic rules, Covid-19 guidelines, important messages/warnings etc,- do they expect a driver or a rider to stop and read the messages showing on these LED screen, if not how are they going to read all the messages etc that is displayed randomly. Not a “Smart Idea” for a “Smart City”? Period! The best thing for a City like Mangaluru, where motorists ( also including pedestrians) who don’t give heed/damn for all these new systems, it is better to stop wasting government/tax payer’s money in lakhs/crores on all these new gadgets. All these new systems are money making tactics by the authorities in the administration and also the third person. Sorry, don’t get me wrong- it’s a fact?