City Makeover

Making Indore smart through retrofitting and redevelopment works

Indore is one of the top 20 cities to be selected under Round 1 of the Smart Cities Mission. To this end, a two-phase selection process was followed – first at the intra-state level and then at the national level. The smart city proposal submitted by Indore was scored on the basis of a number of city-level criteria such as its vision and goals, and strategic plans, as well as the quality of proposals for area-based development (ABD) and pan-city solutions.

Over the past one-and-a-half years, the city administration has approved and announced a number of retrofitting and redevelopment projects with the long-term objective of transforming Indore into a smart city. In terms of physical progress, only 40 projects have been completed so far, while about 48 are at different stages of implementation. Another 66 are planned to be taken up in the future. Overall, the Indore smart city project focuses on building sustainable infrastructure for key applications such as smart mobility, smart water and waste management, smart energy, smart safety and security, smart governance and communication, and affordable housing.

Pan-city and area-based solutions

The city is undertaking two types of development under the mission – ABD and pan-city development. An area of 3 sq. km in the heart of the city, covering the Rajwada and the Sarafa Bazaar suburb, has been selected for ABD to be undertaken at a total cost of Rs 29 billion. The area is being redeveloped and retrofitted with the implementation of projects such as a pedestrian zone, a no-vehicle zone and a plaza. Further, 11 key road projects, covering a total length of 10.7 km, are to be developed at a cost of Rs 1.35 billion. The development of dedicated parking spaces and the restoration of the Rajwada Palace and adjoining areas are also proposed under the ABD component.

Under pan-city development, selected smart solutions are being implemented to upgrade the existing citywide infrastructure. These include the installation/replacement of 70,000 street lights with LED lights, operations and maintenance of the installed LED system for a period of seven years, development of a GPS-based vehicle tracking and monitoring system, and launch of the Indore 311 mobile application. The city is also moving towards renewable sources of energy for electricity generation. A 2 MW solar power plant has been installed in Indore under the Smart Cities Mission at a total cost of Rs 120 million. Further, smart solutions such as an intelligent city management system (ICMS) and an intelligent transportation system (ITS) are being deployed. The ICMS is being developed as a comprehensive facility, which will serve as a backbone communications network for all information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled services in the city. As part of the ICMS, a central command and control centre is being developed. This will require a multi-purpose optic fibre cable communication network with a bandwidth of 10 gigabit and a 25 km range for IT services, integrated solid waste management and other future pan-city applications. Further, a city dashboard that collects, collates, analyses and disseminates information on all pan-city applications is under implementation. The ITS is being developed to integrate traffic, transit, parking and payment management using ICT elements. It will be integrated with the existing as well as proposed transportation systems including bus rapid transport and metro rail, and traffic signals. This will help streamline traffic and transport management while improving the overall user experience.

Significant investment plans, but little headway

About 48 smart city projects are currently under way in Indore. Together they entail a total investment of Rs 23.2 billion. Meanwhile, 40 projects worth Rs 1.2 billion have already been completed. These include  smart classrooms, community and public toilets, and solar power plants. Further, 66 projects at a total cost of Rs 350 million are proposed to be taken up in the future.

Under the ABD component, an on-road parking facility is being developed to cater to 728 cars and 4,108 two-wheelers in Jawahar Nagar and adjoining areas. To maintain the heritage of Indore city, conservation and restoration work of the Rajwada Palace, Chhatri and Gopal Mandir is also being undertaken.

Further, widening of the Biyabani road is currently under implementation. Eleven multilevel parking facilities in areas such as Rajwada, Veer Savarkar Market and Jinsi Haat have been planned. Redevelopment projects are also being undertaken as part of ABD in several areas such as Jinsi, Nandlalpura Subji Mandi and Malharganj.

As per the water supply and sewerage detailed project report on Indore, the population of the area chosen for ABD development is expected to double from 0.12 million in 2015 to 0.24 million by 2050. This population will have a total water demand of 42 million litres per day (mld) and total sewage generation of about 31 mld by 2050. To cater to the increasing demand, a water supply and sewerage project is being developed to provide 24×7 pressurised water supply. Under the project, the existing water supply and sewerage infrastructure is being revamped and rehabilitated.

Initiatives under pan-city solutions include an integrated command and control centre, integrated solid waste management and an integrated transport management system.

Financing the Indore smart city

According to the smart city proposal, developing the Indore smart city will involve a total investment of Rs 43 billion. Of the total, Rs 27.5 billion will be sourced from Smart Cities Mission funds and Rs 15 billion from the private sector, through public-private partnership projects. The remaining Rs 0.5 billion worth of projects will be implemented under other central government schemes.

The city will receive Rs 1 billion per year from the central government. The same amount will have to be provided by the state government/ urban local body. As of July 2018, Indore has received funds worth Rs 3.96 billion for project development. This is the combined amount received from the central government and the Madhya Pradesh government.

In conclusion

Going forward, Indore could emerge as a successful smart city. For the successful implementation of these projects, issues such as the lack of collaboration between the state and local government agencies, inadequate knowledge sharing, low technology penetration and limited citizen participation need to be addressed on an urgent basis. The availability of adequate funds too will be critical for the timely implementation of the projects.

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