City making ‘smart’ strides

December 30, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 24, 2016 12:51 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM:

In the threshold of major transformation expected with smart city proposals, physical infrastructure got a major boost during the year coming to a close.

The city, pounded by the unprecedented cyclone Hudhud in October 2014, found its feet, bounced back and with the announcement of a smart city MoU by President Barak Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, received a fillip. Its selection in the first 100 cities for the smart city challenge of the Union government and the consequent brainstorming sessions with various stakeholders has led to stock-taking on the city’s strengths and shortcomings.

Even as the city awaits the final result of the smart city challenge having sent its proposals, a more comprehensive blueprint will emerge from the US exercise expected to begin next month.

“If one were to look at a single largest achievement during the current year it’s the importance given to physical infrastructure,” says Municipal Commissioner Pravin Kumar.

After Hudhud, about Rs.85 crore was spent on various works like roads, drains, parks, burial grounds etc and for another Rs.65 crore works the bills are still spending. That emphasises the importance of improving the civic body’s revenues.

Beautification drive

Ahead of the International Fleet Review (IFR) scheduled for February next, funds to the tune of Rs. 90 crore were spent on giving a facelift to the city. After several years, 60 km of road in the core area of the city has been renewed spending Rs.44 crore. On improving footpaths with new tiles, another Rs.15 crore was spent. In the wards, roads have been improved at a cost of about Rs. 20 crore. Besides, all along the highway on the median, greenery is being raised. The greenbelt will be fenced after plantation. The Beach Road from Coastal Battery to Tenneti Park is also being beautified and greenery raised.

Almost all projects, including three relating to water, ongoing UGD works, including the sewage treatment plant at Narava, will be ready soon. In the next two months, the corporation will be in a position to connect 23,000 households to UGD, says Mr. Pravin Kumar. About Rs.50 crore was spent on the projects from the general funds of the corporation.

However, the Bus Rapid Transit System still faced bottlenecks with 2 km for which issues relating to land falling in the Simhachalam Devasthanam have to be resolved. Having installed more than 90,000 LED streetlights, GVMC received two awards: first prize in general category and second prize for business model in street lighting awarded by the Government of India to mark National Energy Conservation Day.

Blot on drainage system

On the flip side, the death of a six-year-old girl after being washed away in a drain after downpour cast a shadow over the drainage system. After that, of the 3000-km of drain network in the city, vulnerable points in low-lying areas have been identified for strengthening at a cost of Rs.10 crore.

A landslip that damaged two houses killing four persons of two families brought into sharp focus the perilous lives on hill-slopes. A team that includes officials from Geology Department will identify vulnerable areas.

I n the next two months, the corporation will be in a position to connect 23,000 households to UGD

Pravin Kumar

Municipal Commissioner

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