16 April 2017
Kulbir singh kalsi
A panel discussion on a “Vision for Smart Cities” was organized by Mumbai based ‘Design Perspective’ in Hotel JW Marriot, Chandigarh. Panelists were Congress leader Manish Tewari, former President of Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), Balbir Verma, Chandigarh’s Chief Architect, Kapil Setia, Member Advisory Committee on UTs to Union Home Ministry, Surinder Bahga, Sanjay Goel, Director Smart City Ltd., Ludhiana and Practicing Architect Renu Khanna. The programme was attended by 200 architects, engineers, planners and builders.
Manish Tewari stressed on the need of overhauling of Urban local governance. He stressed on the need to avoid multiplicity of urban local bodies in each city. He also said that there is great need to empower our Mayors. Transparency in Urban governance is totally lacking. More public participation should be ensured.
While sharing his experiences in smart city, Ludhiana, Sanjay Goel said that the smart city mission is an excellent idea, but there is paucity of funds. Hence hardly anything is being translated on the ground due to shortage of funds.
Architect Kapil Setia informed that one sector belt from 17 to 43 is finalized to experiment the idea of 24×7 water supply. To ease out traffic congestion, he shared that administration is thinking of introducing intelligent traffic management systems in Chandigarh city.
Balbir Verma emphasized that architects should be given pivotal role in the smart city mission.
Renu Khanna highlighted the issue of poor drainage of rain water on city roads. She said that there is a dire need to solve this problem.
Surinder Bahga focused on the need of involving Architects and planners to ensure better planning in our cities. He told that IIA has offered to Minister for Local Govt. Navjot Singh Sidhu in this regard. He pointed out that Chandigarh is being ruined systematically by UT’s engineering wing. He cited the example of partitioning of Madhya Marg with a huge railing throughout. An underpass is being built to connect Rose Garden and Sector 17 costing Rupees nine crores. He said survey is being done to ascertain the volume of pedestrian traffic. Preliminary report indicated that very few pedestrians come through this route. He questioned the need of such a underpass.
The panel discussion was followed by question and answer session. SS Sekhon Principal Indo- Global College of Architecture advised that Chandigarh should have an authority like Urban Art Commission in New Delhi in city to save Chandigarh from further deterioration.
Programme ended with vote of thanks by Pooja Tewari from Design Perspective.