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Decoding ‘Srinagar Smart City’

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Transforming the Jewel of Kashmir into a Vibrant and Eco-Friendly Urban Center

By: Er Aausyf ibn Farooq

‘Srinagar Smart City’ project is striving to create a city that is technologically advanced, sustainable, and citizen-friendly. With smart solutions in every aspect of life, the city is transforming into a modern and vibrant metropolis.

Srinagar, the crown jewel of Kashmir, is a city steeped in natural beauty, cultural heritage, and centuries-old traditions. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, it has been a tourist hotspot for decades. But like many other cities, it also faces several challenges such as traffic congestion, pollution, and inadequate infrastructure. However, the city has faced numerous challenges, such as traffic congestion, pollution, and inadequate infrastructure. To tackle these issues and transform the city into a modern and sustainable urban centre, the Indian government launched the Smart City Mission on June 25, 2015. The mission had an initial deadline of June 2021 but was extended for all cities to June 2023 with Srinagar being selected as one of the 100 cities for urban renewal and retrofitting.

The Srinagar Smart City project is divided into two parts: Area Based Development (ABD) and Pan City Solutions (PCS). The ABD component focuses on the development of key areas, such as the historic downtown, commercial centres, and tourism hotspots, with an estimated budget of Rs. 2869.24 crores. The PCS component aims to provide smart solutions, such as intelligent traffic management, e-governance, and public Wi-Fi, across the entire city, with an estimated budget of Rs. 765.03 crores.

To oversee the implementation of the project, Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), was incorporated in 2017. The company is governed by the Board of Directors, headed by the Administrative Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department, J&K, and the State Level High Powered Steering Committee (HPSC) for Smart City Srinagar, headed by the Chief Secretary of the Government of J&K.

The vision of SSCL is to transform Srinagar into an eco-friendly, resilient, and socio-economically vibrant city that celebrates its natural and cultural heritage, creating harmony and opportunities for all. The goal is to leverage the city’s natural and cultural assets, such as tourism and handicrafts, through innovative and inclusive solutions to enhance the quality of life for its citizens.

India’s Smart City Mission

Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with a mission to develop 100 cities. The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (GOI) is responsible for implementing the mission. The objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, give a decent quality of life to their citizens, a clean and sustainable environment, and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions.

Salient Features of Smart Cities

Some typical features of comprehensive development in Smart Cities are described below:

  • Promoting mixed land use in area-based developments–planning for ‘unplanned areas’ containing a range of compatible activities and land uses close to one another to make land use more efficient.
  • Housing and inclusiveness – expand housing opportunities for all.
  • Creating walkable localities – reduce congestion, air pollution, and resource depletion, boost the local economy, promote interactions, and ensure security.
  • Preserving and developing open spaces – parks, playgrounds, and recreational spaces to enhance the quality of life of citizens, reduce the urban heat effects in Areas, and generally promote eco-balance.
  • Promoting a variety of transport options – Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transport, and last-mile para-transport connectivity.
  • Making governance citizen-friendly and cost-effective – increasingly relying on online services to bring about accountability and transparency.
  • Giving an identity to the city – based on its main economic activity, such as local cuisine, health, education, arts and craft, culture,

The concept of a “smart city” revolves around the use of information technology as the principal infrastructure to provide essential services to its residents. This includes automated sensor networks, data centres, and other technological platforms. A smart city aims to promote sustainability, economic viability, and a decent quality of life for its citizens.

Apart from all this, Srinagar Smart City is also working on several ongoing projects to enhance the quality of life for citizens. There are currently 71 ongoing projects and 66 completed projects, with a total of 137 projects in progress. The Bicycle Sharing Scheme is just one of many initiatives that are transforming the city.

The Srinagar Smart City project encompasses a wide range of initiatives and solutions to address various urban challenges and promote sustainable development. Here are some of the key areas where smart solutions are being implemented:

  • Traffic Management: Smart traffic management solutions, such as Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), are being deployed to enhance mobility and reduce congestion on roads.
  • Air Pollution: Smart sensors and data analytics are being utilized to monitor air quality and take corrective measures to reduce pollution levels.
  • Open Data: The Smart City Mission aims to promote open data initiatives to enhance transparency and citizen participation in governance.
  • Education: The smart city project is also focusing on improving the quality of education by introducing innovative solutions such as e-learning and smart classrooms.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): The integration of IoT devices and systems is being used to provide real-time data for efficient and effective decision-making in various domains.
  • Public Safety: Smart solutions are being implemented to enhance public safety, including CCTV surveillance, emergency response systems, and disaster management plans.
  • Gas & Water Leak Detection: Smart sensors are being used to detect gas and water leaks in real-time, thereby ensuring efficient and timely maintenance.
  • Smart Energy: The smart city is leveraging renewable energy sources and smart grids to ensure a reliable and sustainable energy supply.
  • Water Quality: The smart city project is using advanced technology to monitor water quality and ensure safe drinking water for citizens.
  • Intelligent Shopping: Smart retail solutions, such as e-commerce and online marketplaces, are being implemented to enhance the shopping experience for citizens.
  • Smart Environment: The city is adopting various eco-friendly solutions such as rainwater harvesting, waste segregation, and green buildings to ensure a sustainable and healthy environment.
  • Electromagnetic Emissions: The smart city project is focusing on reducing electromagnetic emissions by adopting advanced technology and devices.
  • Smart Health: Advanced health monitoring solutions, telemedicine, and e-health services are being deployed to ensure the health and well-being of citizens.
  • Smart Buildings: Smart building solutions, such as automated lighting and temperature control, are being introduced to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Smart Home: Smart home solutions, such as home automation and security systems, are being implemented to enhance the comfort and safety of citizens.
  • Smart Street Lights: The city is adopting smart street lighting solutions, such as LED lights and sensors, to reduce energy consumption and improve safety.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging: EV charging stations are being installed in various parts of the city to promote the use of electric vehicles and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Smart Parking: Smart parking solutions, such as sensors and mobile apps, are being introduced to reduce congestion and make parking more convenient for citizens.
  • Waste Management: Smart waste management solutions, such as automated waste collection and recycling, are being deployed to ensure efficient and sustainable waste management in the city.

Overall, the Srinagar Smart City project is a comprehensive and ambitious initiative aimed at transforming the city into a vibrant, eco-friendly, and technologically advanced urban centre. The integration of various smart solutions and initiatives in different domains is expected to improve the quality of life for citizens, promote economic growth, and create a model for other cities in India and beyond.

The writer is Elec. Engineer at CC sgr and can be mailed at [email protected]

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