Dr. Jaiman Upadhyay was elected as Mayor of Rajkot City in 2015 and is medical doctor by profession. He has also served Rajkot Municipal Corporation as Standing Committee Chairman in year 2012 and 2013. Under Dr. Upadhyay’s leadership, Rajkot City has been widely regarded as the best-run city in the State of Gujarat and has received many awards. Here, he talks to us about the green initiatives taken up and the efforts being made to transition to a carbon neutral city.
Rajkot has been demonstrating national leadership in taking up green initiatives as can be seen from the many projects presently in the city. Tell us more about the initiatives that ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability and Rajkot have been partnering on and how you feel they are benefitting the city?
Rajkot City has prepared a sector wise GHG emission inventory and a Low Emission Development Strategy and Action Plan for the year 2020, under the European Commission funded project – “Promoting Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries” which is being implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI SA in India. The City has committed to reduce 25% GHG emissions by year 2020 from Rajkot City’s baseline annual GHG emissions in 2012-13. The mitigation target was adopted in October, 2016. Due to successful implementation of this project, Rajkot has been awarded as National Earth Hour Capital of India in year 2016 by WWF under Earth Hour City Challenge Project. Through ICLEI SA, Rajkot has participated in various national and international initiatives like;
- Rajkot is one of six deep dive cities across the world receiving technical assistance for green building initiatives under “Sustainable Energy for ALL (SE4ALL) Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) project” launched and funded by UNEP through WRI.
- Rajkot has been selected to receive technical assistance and capacity building under the project “District Energy Systems (DES) in Indian Cities” funded by UNEP.
- Rajkot is one of four Indian cities to get assistance from the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) under the Capacity Building Project on Low Carbon and Climate Resilient City Development in India (CapaCITIES) project.
- Rajkot in India is one of the twelve selected cities for The Regional GIZ Project “The Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: the urban Nexus”.
ICLEI has been instrumental in facilitating all these projects which are providing technical knowledge and helping Rajkot city to become more energy efficient and achieve GHG emission reduction targets.
Rajkot is part of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, please share with us the progress of initiatives that have been started in the city to ensure compliance and commitment towards the Covenant.
It is a pleasure for me to serve as a board member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. In October, 2016, Rajkot City Council committed to reduce 25% of our GHG emissions by 2020 from our baseline annual GHG emissions in 2012-13. I am proud to say that between October 2016 to April 2017 Rajkot city saved 9.8million kWh electricity and reduced 8,070 tonnes CO2e GHG emissions due to the following initiatives.
- Retrofitting of streetlights with LED lights resulting in savings of 8.5million kWh energy consumption and a reduction in 7,000 tonnes GHG emissions annually. Dimming of all LED streetlights during full moon nights results in further energy savings.
- Retrofitting of Municipal Buildings with more than 2,000 LED lights, resulting in savings of 0.1 million kWh energy consumption and a reduction in 84 tonnes of GHG emissions.
- Installation of a total of 525 kWp rooftop photovoltaic systems on municipal buildings resulting in the generation of 0.7million kWh energy and 645 tonnes of GHG emissions reduction. So far, we have installed a 315kWp rooftop SPV in the city.
- Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) is implementing energy efficient affordable housing schemes for slums and planning to connect more than 7,000 affordable households with the existing public transport system
- Today, RMC operates 24 cycle rental stations with 195 cycles in the city to complement existing public transportation system.
- Solid waste segregation at source is being planned in the city with the installation of a 4MW capacity Waste to Energy Plant, resulting in generation of 22million kWh energy and a reduction in 18,000 tonnes GHG emissions. RMC has taken the lead on a composting initiative in city where all generated compost will be sold to Gujarat State Fertilizer & Chemicals Limited.
- Rain water harvesting and installation of solar water heaters have been mandatory to secure an occupancy certificates for certain buildings, as per General Development Control Regulation of city
The City of Rajkot is ‘leading by example’ and is ‘learning by doing’, in its journey towards achieving Rajkot’s low emission and GHG emission reduction goal and associated targets.