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Suryakant Jena

The Steel City of Rourkela has been selected as only one of the two towns in India to make it to the list of 50 Champion Cities in the 2021 Bloomberg Global Mayors Challenge, a worldwide competition that encourages and spreads cities’ most promising ideas. The Rourkela Municipal Corporation took to Twitter to make the announcement. 

This year’s Global Mayors Challenge focuses on elevating the most important innovations generated in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the website of the Bloomberg Cities Network, 631 cities from around the world submitted applications earlier this year and, from those, a committee of global experts has selected the 50 most innovative urban solutions to emerge in the wake of COVID-19 to advance in the competition.

Rourkela has been adjudged as a champion city for its standout innovation in supporting solar-powered cold storage and women entrepreneurship to reduce waste. The city administration had partnered with NIT Rourkela – based agro tech & clean energy solution startup Koel Fresh Pvt. Ltd. for implementation of this innovative & sustainable initiative.

Rourkela success story – In the city, more than 700 registered street traders selling fruit and vegetables face a lack of proper storage facilities, and 30 percent of produce ends up being sold under value or wasted at the end of the trading day. The city proposes providing women entrepreneurs access to both solar-powered, cold-storage units and to new electric-vehicle distribution options—reducing food waste and prolonging the window for produce to be sold. 

The Bloomberg Cities said that Rourkela’s idea is compelling because it brings a gender-equity lens, as the majority of vendors are female, and is envisioned to be managed entirely by women federations across the city.

Apart from Rourkela, Pune is the only other city from the country to be selected among the 50 elite towns to compete in the competition. 
The 2021 Global Mayors Challenge will give these 50 champion cities access to world-renowned experts in innovation and data to help them improve upon their ideas.

Fifteen grand-prize winners will then receive $1 million each to begin the implementation of their breakthrough ideas.

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