The governments at the center, State and Local bodies intend to spent around Rs. 1000 Crores in the next five years which according to me is far too less than what is needed to make any city smart however going by the noble intent and hoping that it is the starting point for better days for Udaipur, below mentioned is my wish list of the core infrastructure changes that can be bought about involving these limited resources:
- Use of the Fatehsagar Lake front to promote local artist and artisans. Plan a Monthly calendar and make use of the beautiful lake front for music recitals, art exhibitions to promote Local Artists and tourism. Make Saturday and Sunday No Vehicle zone for Fatehsagar and use the vacant land of Hotel Laxmi Vilas for Car parking, as it is they have got the entire chunk for peanuts.
- Give away the Parks however small or big in private hands for upkeep and maintenance as the government doesn’t have the where withal to maintain it, so as to create open clean green spaces. Necessary checks have to be insured so as these public properties do no become personal and moneymaking enterprises.
- Have a garbage collection agency, as of now some colonies have it and some don’t and ensure strict compliance. As of now vacant plot becomes the dumping grounds of garbage, once the garbage collection system is in place and working effectively penalise the vacant plot owner/ colony residents for not ensuring cleanliness. UIT / Municipal Corporation to ensure necessary drainage is available before sanctioning construction plans.
- Make the mobile nos of entire hierarchy of essential services such as the water, electricity, police, administration and medical available to the public at large. They better be accountable for ensuring what they are meant to deliver and don’t. There is no use of helplines as we have seen they seldom are of any help to the aggrieved persons. Display them at major public offices, places etc.
- Udaipur luckily doesn’t face the water crunch as have been abundantly blesses by nature. However to ensure we do not exploit what we are blessed with it is better to have strong metering system and also each colony to have its own water overhead tank to ensure regular and consistent water supply. And to have the Dewas Water Project completed in time and in the manner it was originally envisaged. Make Water Harvesting Mandatory and ensure compliance.
- In these times it is difficult to curtail vehicle sales and ownership but what can be definitely done is to improve upon the road network and open up alternate routes and ensure some of the departments are taken further on the outskirts. I am not too much in favour of flyovers due to its capital cost and the business loss and they have to be the last resort till all the other options are exhausted.
- May be some of the department and facilities of the Agricultural College can be shifted outside city limits and use the available free land for making park on the lines of Central Park of Jaipur to provide the essential clean air and for the health and fitness of Udaipurites. And if feasible some of it can be used to further ease out the traffic by building road network through it.
- Land is an expensive and scarce resources and the way the prices of the same is sky rocketing it is beyond a reach of the common man to have his own shelter. On the other hand some of the administrative offices and their residential quarters are with humongous plot size. What if they all are shifted to one state of the art building and use the spare land to raise resources to make homes for the homeless and weaker sections of the society. The case in point being the redevelopment of Bhendi Bazar, Mumbai by the Dawoodi Bohras.
- Promote and officially recognise resident welfare associations and organisations working for women and children and make them stakeholders in making our city smartcity. Have regular town hall meetings and dialogue with the public.
- We already have a mobile app in place to provide digital governance in Udaipur. It is still in its infancy involve the local IT Companies and make govt within reach and accountable by a click of a button.
- The Private Schools ,Universities and Hospitals get land at subsidised price. Let us make them accountable to fulfil their social obligations by publishing monthly data online of the beneficiary for the viewing of public at large. This would ensure that education and health needs of the weaker sections are taken care of.
- Involve telecom companies to develop wifi zones in Udaipur and to compensate them for these services make some of the public places available to them for branding and promotional activities.
- Public Transport is yet to develop in Udaipur and most of the citizens have to depend on private rickshaws. The govt tried running buses but it has failed, it is time to make them sustainable by developing alternate revenue streams.
I am sure there can be more effective and better manner in making my Udaipur a smart city for what is listed above is just a small wish list which may not be perfect but would definitely provide food for thought !!
As the great poet Iqbal sb said “ दिल से जो बात निकलती है असर रखती है …..”
I just hope some of the above gets translated into action….