TODAY -

Developing Imphal City into a Smart City-Suggestions

Dr Khomdon Lisam *

Aerial view of Imphal City during Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival 2012 :: November 2012
Aerial view of Imphal City during Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival in November 2012 :: Pix - MMTA



On 25 June, 2015, the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched three ambitious projects (1) the Smart Cities Mission (2) Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and (3)Housing for ALL by 2022 now named as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) at Vigyan Bhawan in the presence of senior officials from state governments and Union Territories dealing with urban affairs including municipal commissioners and mayors .

A total of Rs 98000 crore (US$15 billion) has been approved by the Indian Cabinet for development of 100 smart cities and rejuvenation of 500 others. For the smart cities mission, Rs 48000 crore (US$7.2 billion) and for the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), a total funding of Rs 50000 crore (US$7.5 billion) has been approved by the Cabinet. Each city would get ?100 crore (US$15 million) every year from the Centre for five years.

Smart Cities will focus on their most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve lives.

The main objective of the twin projects is to change the landscape by addressing the issue of infrastructure gap in urban areas so that cities become more liveable, besides enhancing the business and investment climate for the benefit of the poor. Smart Cities are intended to enhance the quality of urban life by providing a clean and sustainable environment.

The Core infrastructure elements are (1)24 hour adequate water supply (2) 24 hour assured electricity supply (3)Sanitation, including solid waste management (4)Efficient urban mobility and public transport (5)Affordable housing (especially for the poor) (6)Robust IT connectivity and digitization (6) Good governance (especially e-governance and citizen participation) (7) Sustainable environment (8) Safety and security of citizens (particularly women, children and the elderly) (9)Health (10)Education. Smart cities are seen as a key to India's economic and social growth.

Imphal City is included in the list of 35 cities selected so far. Considering the pressing needs of the Imphal city, I may be allowed to put up the following Suggestions :

1.Rain Water Harvesting : Manipur is a place where there is very heavy rainfall flooding the main cities, markets and villages during rainy season and there is scarcity of water when there is no rainfall. We allow rainwater to run off and go to waste. Rainwater harvesting is an easy way to collect water during the rainy season and store it for use during the dry season. If we harvest rainwater, it will provide an independent water supply during dry season and can help mitigate flooding of low-lying areas. We may preserve it for future use for irrigation, for watering of public gardens and parks and for domestic use as drinking water, after proper treatment.

In Tamil Nadu, rainwater harvesting was made compulsory for every building to avoid ground water depletion. It gave excellent results within five years, and every state took it as role model. Since its implementation, Chennai saw a 50 percent rise in water level in five years and the water quality significantly improved. W emay pln meticulously for harvesting rain water

2. Water Tower - I am from Palace Compound, the heart of Imphal city, where the public water supply system is simply not available but the water pipe are available for the last 10 years or so. I am entirely depending on private water tanks spending around Rs.1000 every month. This is happening because of lack of sincerity and commitment on the part of the Minister and the Chief Engineer looking after PHED. They know that construction of a water tower at a height sufficient to pressurize the water supply system for the distribution of potable water, and to provide emergency storage for fire protection will solve the problem. The water tower may be designed in such way that it may be a beautiful landmark in the city. I brought it to the knowledge of the Minister and the Chief Engineer but without any effect. Such water towers should be constructed at various places to ensure 24 hour water supply to the Imphal city.

3. Supply of drinking water to the residents of Imphal Municipality : The water supplied at present by the PHED is not fit for drinking. The PHED or Imphal Municipality should supply piped drinking water to each and every household 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

4. Installation of Piped Domestic LPG supply System (Reticulated LPG system) : It is fact the people are subjected to various kinds of humiliation and harassment just for earning some extra money by the dishonest agents in Manipur for getting just 12 LPG Cylinders a year. Most of the consumers do not get 12 cylinders. It is high time for us to switch on to Piped Domestic LPG supply System. Not to talk of developed countries, many developing countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh have introduced this Piped Domestic LPG supply System long time back. In India also, some cities have started using the system.

The advantage of this system is that the cooking gas (LPG) is delivered at home automatically through pipes just like piped water supply giving uninterrupted supply and convenience to households We need not run around for getting a cylinder of LPG. The reticulated LPG system has an inbuilt "leak detector." In the event of a leakage, the system would automatically shut down and supply cut instantly. The system is very safe. The meter reading will show when they need to get a refill, With this system, we don't have the hassle of remembering to refill each time.

5. Multi-storied automated Car Parking (Robotic Car Parking) : Nowadays, the cities will have to become more innovative in providing quality living and services in an ecologically sound manner. Currently, cities use more than 75% of the energy produced, and create more than 80% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. One way to reduce the carbon footprint of cities is by reducing the hunt for parking. An abundance of automated parking means fewer cars on the road, less congestion, and cleaner air for everyone.

Today, we do not have proper car parking facilities in the Kwairamband Keithel. We have to provide space for construction of a Multi-storied automated Car Parking (Robotic Car Parking) in the Kwairamband Keithel. This is the most innovative and safest way to park cars today! Your car is parked automatically by a fully automated robotic, state of the art, computerized system, that not only parks your car... but even washes it for you, so that your car is fully maintained - aesthetically, as well as securely! Delhi has inaugurated the first fully automated, multi-level car parking facility, which has a capacity for 824 cars on 10 Novemer,2011 (Thursday) in Sarojini Nagar market.

The complex is fully automated with car lifts, pallets and computerised control systems, which will be operational round the clock. Drivers can buy a 'car park card' to use the facility. The vehicle has to be left at the basement level on a pallet, from where it will be taken to the parking area with the help of lifts. Once a vehicle reaches the parking window, the registration number is scanned and the in-time is recorded. This information is then relayed to the operation system from the camera.

The driver is given a smart card, which will allow him to retrieve his vehicle. Cars will be parked on second to eight floors. These advanced automated parking systems are extraordinarily well-designed, tested and constructed. They are being used worldwide in totally automated locations, where speed and reliability is critical. The advantages are clear. The systems are scalable and adapt to virtually any architectural footprint. They hold nearly twice as many vehicles as similarly sized conventional garages.

What's more, they are fast, efficient and environmentally sound. In 1906, Büro AG Perret, Architects and Engineers, built the first automatic parking system in the Garage du Rue Ponthieu in Paris. The technology has been refined over the last 100 years - however, the principle has remained the same: parking, simple and automatic.

6. Improvement of all roads within Imphal Municipality by widening and black topping (Asphalt concrete ) : Some of the roads in the Imphal municipality area are too narrow due to encroachment by the local people with the result that two cars from opposite directions can not negotiate. These roads need widening . All roads need proper maintenance and black topping with Asphalt concrete.

7. Prevention of flooding and construction and maintenance proper Drainage System : During rainy season, we find temporary flooding of many parts of Imphal Municipality. This can be prevented by dredging of river beds during dry season ,improvement of river banks, correct leveling of the area prone to flooding, provision of flood barriers, provision of effective drainage system.Trees can also help defend against floods. Planting more trees catches rainfall and helps take water from the soil. Large areas must be reforested to make a real difference.

Drainage cannot be overemphasized in road construction and maintenance. Water affects the entire serviceability of a road. Too much water in the base material weakens the road. Water allowed to remain on top of a gravel or black topped road weakens the surface and, combined with traffic, causes potholes and cracking. If improperly channeled, water causes soil erosion and a breakdown of pavement edges. The life of a road can be prolonged through good design, construction and maintenance practices. That is why construction and maintenance of proper Drainage System is required.

8. Construction of a well planned Ring Road around Imphal city : We have been talking of a Ring Road around Imphal city for the last 10 years or so without any action. The dream may be fulfilled under the Smart City Mission. 9. Improving the hygiene and Sanitation of Imphal city : We should consider how to ensure safe collection, storage, treatment and disposal/re-use/recycling of human excreta (faeces and urine);solid wastes (trash or rubbish); sewage effluents; household wastewater, industrial waste products; hazardous wastes. The state Government's ambitious scheme of a modern Sewerage System should be put to use as soon as possible.

10. Proivision of Sanitary Landfills and Incinerator : At present, there is no proper Sanitary Landfills and Incinerator for disposal of waste. This may be given proper attention.

11. Provision of Fancy Garbage and Trash Bins of different colour coding at every suitable points and ensuring daily collection and disposal

12. Provision of electric crematorium at suitable places : Electric crematorium offers an affordable alternative to traditional funeral pyre and body burial. It can significantly reduce funeral home costs and become eco-friendly

13 Installation of coin-operated toilets at various points of Imphal Municipality : The State Government may consider installation of coin operated toilets with beautiful designs at suitable locations.

14. Construction of beautiful Gardens and Parks in Imphal Municipal : The State Government may consider for construction of huge green beautiful Gardens and Parks in Imphal Municipal area. The Hyde Park in Central London covers an are of 350 acres (1.42 km²) and open to public. Those who are found sitting in the easy chair are charged five Pounds. Similarly, there are ether three very nig parks.

15. Introduction of effective Public Transport System : The traffic signal system introduced about three years back is not yet functioning till date. This must be put into operation immediately. The present Cycle Rickshaw and Auto-rickshaw system may be phased out by not issuing fresh permit and banning use of Cycle Rickshaw and Auto-rickshaw which are more than five years old.

The State Government may choose public –private partnership in using and popularising the low floor Buses, speed up the boarding process by using proof-of-payment fare collection, reducing the number of stations/stops; carefully choosing the bus route, constructing waiting sheds with attractive designs, locating stations/stops on street; giving public transport priority at traffic signals, giving information about the time of arrival of the bus and strict adherence to the time notified. Give bicycle path and public bicycle systems

16. Speakers Corner : Taking the freedom of speech and freedom of expression as the constitutional right, the State Government may identify one spot near the main road preferably near the Shahid Minar as the Speakers Corner where anybody can speak on any topic of his choice at any time on any day to attract public attention for ventilation of their grievances using public address system.

17. E-Governance : E-Governance is a process through which all government services available to the citizens of India via electronic media. It is a mediator between government and citizens. It is the use of a range of modern information and technologies by government to improve efficiency, service via Internet, mobile, local area network. Nowadays developed countries are switching on to offices without files. Opening of websites is not sufficient.

It should have automatic reply system and two way communication. The hand behind the machine is very important to make the system successful. The Government of Manipur has a vision to `make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man. It needs to translate the vision into action

18. Development of Iroisemba Zoo into a modern Zoo : The Iroisemba Zoo is in a pitiable condition since its inception. It is now high time to develop it into modern zoo by expanding the area and constructing the infrastructure and keeping rare animal species to attract tourists. We should not ill treat the animals by keeping the animals in such a harsh condition.

19. Empower Imphal Municipality to collect taxes and impose fine : The working of the Imphal Municipality is in a pitiable condition because of too much interference by the State Government and the minister concerned. Outside visitors think that Imphal city is a slum. Any part of Imphal city is found scattered with garbage and waste materials. There should be proper law to empower Imphal Municipality to collect taxes and impose fine-group fines and individual fines for violation of laws to avoid scattering of garbage and other waste products

20. Shifting of some important buildings : If we want a beautiful, well planned, liveable city free from fear and anxiety, some of the important buildings like the Governor Bungalow, the Chief Minister's Bungalow, the old and New Manipur Secretariats need to be shifted to some other places like Baruni Chingkhong or Koirengei. This will provide space for developing the Imphal city into a smart city. Because of security measures to protect the VVIP, the local common people are often harassed and intimidated by the security personnel.

Similarly some of the offices like the Manipur State Congress Office, the MPP Office, the BJP Office, the Ministers Quarters along the Kangla Park need to be shifted to some other places. The common people do not require them. If the earlier District Hospital can be shifted to Porompat, these buildings can also be shifted in the best interest of developing the Imphal city. This will provide adequate lad space for developing the Imphal City into a Smart City.


* Dr Khomdon Lisam wrote this article for The Sangai Express and Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on December 16, 2015.


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