With an aim to bring experts, stakeholders and the government face-to-face to promote public transport and reduce carbon footprint, a three-day conference ‘Advancing Ideas to Action in Indian Cities’— CONNECTKaro 2016— , commenced on Tuesday, is underway at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.
CONNECTKaro is an annual flagship event of World Resource Institute (WRI), which has been engaged with over 15 cities in India and during three days, the conference will cover many issues within the smart city discourse with sector specialists in the areas of mobility, land management, public spaces, and others.
The WRI is a global research organisation that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, China, India, Brazil and others.
Discussions at three-day event include smart cities, air pollution in cities, smart mobility, transit-orienteddevelopment, streets for all, data for planning of cities, global protocol for cities for measuring carbon footprints, safe access to mass transit, use of IT to improve city bus service, parking, etc.
Besides, the key speakers include Minister of Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar, Haryana finance minister Captain Abhimanyu, Delhi transport and PWD ministers Gopal Rai and Satyander Jain, ex-mayor of Portland Sam Adams and others specialists.
During the inaugural ceremony, Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, of the WRI in India, outlined the country’s commitment to the urban sustainable agenda and the need for more climate conversations since the COP21 held in Paris last year.
Highlighting some of WRI’s recent work on Smart Cities, he said, “The smart city projects are prompting cities to look at one small area and one service area to be improved over the next 5 years. The WRI cities team helped 12 cities to prepare their proposals for the Smart City Challenge and is now working with 6 of those cities to implement these plans.”
Dharmendra Pradhan, the current Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, who was also at the opening of the conference, stressed the importance of solving the waste management issues in a city, including the utilization and monetization of waste. He also talked about the need for maintaining a balance between those who do not have access to energy and those who use more than their share. “It has been the government’s priority to expand the CNG/PNG networks. By the end of may, the Delhi NCR region will be completely covered by CNG stations” said Pradhan.
Also present at the opening day of the conference wasthe Ambassador of Mexico to India, Melba Pria, She compared the problem of air pollution in Delhi to that of Mexico City. She talked about the policy adopted in Mexico City, especially a citizen movement started in 1984, that stopped the use of cars once a week, which later became a government program.
“In Mexico City, when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is more than 180, children are not allowed on the streets. However, in Delhi, the AQI is as high as 900. Mexico has also implemented many more strategies like testing vehicles for carbon emissions every 6 months and promoting the use of alternative modes of transport. In Delhi too, long-term solutions like improvised parking policy and implementing BRTs can solve the problem of air pollution. Engaging the public and making them conscious of these issues is essential as more and more people start living in cities.”
(As reported by Abhinav Raj)