Bhubaneswar turns 69; Making it ‘smart’ seems herculean

Bhubaneswar: The city of temples Bhubaneswar turned 69 years today. Over years of development, the capital city of Odisha, has achieved a special distinction among many cities of the country to be updated to a smart city. On this day, it is imperative to gauge how far has the city lived up to its target to become smart and what remains to be done.

Designed with a purpose of self sufficiency and sustainability by famous German architect Otto Koenigsberger, the city, all will accept, has problems of mismanagement in most fields starting from roads, cleanliness, hygiene to traffic and city planing.

The city born on April 13, 1948 was one of the first four planned cities in the country. It saw exponential growth in terms of infrastructure and population in the last decade. The pace of construction of buildings soon gave the city a concrete jungle tag.

However, commensurately, drainage facilities, transport, parking, accessibility, developing green cover in and around the city  and waste management remained neglected. It is time these parametres are given equal weightage more particularly because the state has been drawing a lot of investors to set establishments here.

Though the administration says it is working with a mission to give the city a makeover, given the pace of work and lack of a political will, it seems the city would need another decade or more to actually become smart.

“After getting smart city status we are trying to develop necessary and peripheral infrastructure, and taking care of programmes like health care, communication,” said Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Panda.

Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said the administration is strengthening public transport system by bringing in electric and hybrid buses to city so that people can commute with ease.