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Global tie-ups for smart cities

17th October 2015 htestates@hindustantimes.com

CII signs memorandum of understanding with Spanish consortium to promote smart mobility in Indian cities
CII has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Spanish consortium for taking up the initiatives under the Smart City Mission at the CII International Conference on Smart Mobility for Smart Cities in New Delhi. This was the fifth such MoU that CII has signed on smart cities, the earlier ones being with German, US, Indian and Japanese consortiums.
Throwing the conference open, Ravi Parthasarathy, chairman, CII National Mission on Smart Cities and chairman IL&FS Ltd, observed that the country was witnessing rapid growth of urban centres. He called for immediate creation of arterial and inter-city roads, which, in turn would require significant expenditure.
Only through integration of these components with transport sub-systems, along with mass and light transit systems can we decongest Indian cities and at the same time make them environment friendly and liveable.
Gustavo De Aristegui, ambassador of Spain to India congratulated CII National Mission on Smart Cities for signing an MoU with the Spanish Consortium led by INDRA Systems Ltd. He highlighted the proven Spanish competency in high-speed railway and sustainable metro systems across the world. The ambassador hoped that the MoU would not only stimulate the ongoing Smart City Mission in India but also foster stronger economic relationship across other verticals as well.
Guest of honour M Ramachandran, former secretary, MoUD, Government of India, in his address, stressed the need to enhance investment in transport infrastructure. To realise the stated goals in the Smart City Mission, he said, it was necessary to create organised, registered and regulated public transport systems, for which data would serve as a fundamental requirement. Transport solutions should be anchored at the Centre with emphasis on time-bound implementation of solutions. Furthermore, there was a need for professional and coordinated approach and strengthening capacity building both at the state and the local level to address city level transport issues, he said.
Professor Jagan Shah, director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, in his special address, brought out the key gaps in transport infrastructure and service delivery across the country and called for strengthening the planning framework for transport in the proposed smart cities. Technology, Shah said, will have an increasing role to play in planning and operational management as we move ahead. The Smart City Mission, he emphasised, was directed towards integration of sub systems to define and achieve the desired outcomes. The key to success of the mission would be to focus on area-based solutions based on intelligent planning and prompt decisions. Greater automation under a strong leadership and optimum use of public spaces would also be very important for cities of the 21st century.
Sanjay Gupta, professor of transport planning, School of Architecture and Planning, in his presentation, spoke about the challenges involved in improving urbanisation and motorisation across the country which was reflected in higher passenger kilometre.
To surmount these challenges, there had been a gradual efforts by the government to encourage mass public transport that started with JNNURM, BRT corridors and setting up of the metro in some cities but progress till now has been far from satisfactory, Gupta said.

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