190 ULBs in Rajasthan pledge to transform into cleaner and smarter cities

ICLEI South Asia – with support from the Local Self Government Department, Government of Rajasthan, and in partnership with the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India; the United Nations Environment Programme; the European Commission and Municipalika – organised a two-day workshop ‘Clean and Smart Rajasthan’, from December 22-23, 2016. Organised in Udaipur, the workshop provided a platform for cross-learning between cities and facilitating an exchange of good practices and initiatives implemented under the flagship programmes of Smart Cities and Swachch Bharat Mission (SBM). Cities also discussed challenges and approaches to ensure long term sustainability of actions. The workshop was attended by 650 representatives from 190 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Rajasthan.

The conference was inaugurated by Smt. Vasundhara Raje, Honorable Chief Minister of Rajasthan; Shri Shrichand Kriplani, Honorable Minister of Urban Development & Housing and Local Self Government, Government of Rajasthan (GoR); Dr. Manjit Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Local Self Government Department, GoR, ; Shri Pawan Arora, Director-cum-Joint Secretary, LSGD, GoR, Shri V. Suresh, Advisor- Good Governance India Foundation & Former CMD-HUDCO; Shri Saurabh Jain, Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India; Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar, Udaipur; Shri Gulab Chand Kataria, Hon’ble Minister for Home, GoR; and Shri Chandra Singh Kothari, Honorable Mayor, Udaipur who actively participated in the workshop, motivating and enthusing cities to move towards a cleaner and smarter Rajasthan.
State level representatives from Gujarat and experts from the private sector also shared their experiences and innovative approaches for achieving the objectives of the SBM.

Best performing ULBs, NGOs and organisations from/active in Rajasthan were also commended and awarded by the Hon. Chief Minister of Rajasthan, during the workshop.

Speaking at the forum, the Hon. Chief Minister of Rajasthan urged both big and small municipal bodies to come together to innovate ways to develop clean, green and smart cities in Rajasthan. “People from other states are coming and settling down in cities like Udaipur in Rajasthan for the quality of life, peace and affordability that the cities here can offer,” said the Hon. Chief Minister. She congratulated the Minister of Urban Development & Housing and Local Self Government and the LSG Department for their commendable work under the SBM and was happy to inform the audience that Rajasthan was the first state in the country to build maximum number of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission. By 2018 all municipal areas will be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). Presently in India, a total of 408 cities have been declared Open Defecation Free and the Centre aims to ensure that 2041 cities attain the ODF status by March 2018. "While Rajasthan has already got four smart cities in the making, the state government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that tier-2 and 3 cities too are smart and clean,” said Smt. Raje.

Shri Shrichand Kriplani, Hon. Minister of Urban Development & Housing and Local Self Government sought a pledge from all the participants present at the workshop that Rajasthan would be the cleanest and most beautiful state by 2017. He, however, was clear that this could not be achieved without municipalities and their residents playing a larger and effective role.

Stating the importance of Swachh Sarvekshan, Mr. Saurabh Jain announced that 500 cities would be assessed in the year 2017 under the programme and he hoped that cities from Rajasthan would achieve a higher ranking. Of the 100 cities assessed last year, Jaipur from Rajasthan secured the highest rank (29). He also added that four cities of the state have established waste management plants and the policy interventions by the government here is being taken up by other states in the country. 

Udaipur, also known as “the lake city”, is a leading heritage site that attracts many tourists from India and outside. Speaking at the workshop, Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar hoped that all the upcoming plans and schemes under Smart City Mission of Government of India will also conserve the heritage sites of the city and enhance accessibility.

At the event, six teams that include local government bodies, non-profits, research organisations, and state government authorities, were awarded for their contribution to smart and clean Rajasthan. These included teams from Dungarpur,
Nagaur, Devli, Karauli, Pratapgarh, Directorate of Local Bodies, Jagritu Foundation and Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR).

In her address to the city representatives present at the workshop, Smt Raje also suggested a set of initiatives that should be taken up by both big and small municipal bodies of the state. These include:

• Ensuring that entry points to any city (airports, railways and bus stands) of the state are clean so that the city leaves a good first impression on its visitors.

• Following strategies like ensuring completion of one project at a time (as done by Udaipur) and subsequently moving on to further improvements

• Elected representatives should work with the community to ensure that municipal bodies of smaller towns and cities do not face dearth of finances; the focus on revenue generation to fund development activity is critical.

• Initiatives like Water ATW (Any Time Water) kiosks for clean, cold water, should be promoted by more cities

• All participants from ULBs must focus on five parameters for the development of respective areas: cleanliness, greenery, plastic-free, heritage-oriented, quality roads

• Maintaining Baolis could be a double-edged sword as it would add to tourism quotient of any city and help in keeping water reserves clean

• Crowd-funding to contribute to initiatives like Annapurna Rasoi, with the community being encouraged to join in as a third partner to the existing PPP based initiatives

• Innovative steps to promote tourism such as launching colourful e-rickshaws in more cities, on the lines of Udaipur

• Encouraging solar rooftop installations and LED street lighting initiatives through-out the state

• Developing walkways for pedestrians in cities, checking/banning use of plastic bags, and putting an end to plastering walls with posters

• Need to adopt policies that make cities clean and beautiful

The day was followed by two technical sessions that focussed on overview of Rajasthan state, a detailed explanation of the Swachh Survekshan, success stories from cities of Rajasthan – Kota, Kishangarh, Pushkar, Nawalgarh and Dungarpur.
The technical sessions continued on the second day of the workshop. 

Holistic Waste Management Action Plan for Kota

The workshop also marked the closure of the UNEP supported project ‘Holistic Waste Management Action Plan for Kota’, for which ICLEI South Asia was the technical implementation agency and it supported Kota Nagar Nigam in developing a holistic waste management strategy and implementation plan for Kota that addresses municipal solid waste, biomedical waste and industrial waste. The key highlights of the plan were presented in this workshop by Commissioner Shri Shiv Prasad Nakate, IAS.

The action plan for Kota has been proposed for a 20-year planning horizon and is based on the principles of integrated solid waste management (ISWM), a holistic approach that not only focuses on technical aspects of municipal solid waste management (MSWM) but also addresses issues of waste minimization, reuse, and recycling, and of socio-cultural (inclusivity), institutional, financial, and legal aspects. The proposed interventions are in consonance with the new Solid Waste Management, Rules 2016 and such compliance has been highlighted in the report.

Realizing the opportunities for building local capacities and identifying integrated solutions for solid waste management, cities also expressed an interest in adopting holistic waste management approach and signed a statement seeking support from UNEP.

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