Land of snow draped mountains with picturesque beauty is ready to transform into a prodigious smart city, a fantasy blossoming with hopes and day dreams seems turning into a real arena. Being a native of Himachal, I feel responsive to reflect my notions in garnering the city heart of Kangra valley. A Smart city has the potential to use digital information and communication technologies to enrich quality and performance of urban services, enables judicious and cost effective resource consumption, and to engage actively and virtually with its citizens. The idea of digital city anticipates the new era of realm where the commoners, government services, economy as well as the environment are in harmony, by implementing well organized cooperative initiatives in response to the day to day challenges an individual comes across. The civic duty towards the basic sustenance of every life, harbouring in Dharmshala’s lap and devising sound advanced strategies to pace up with the metropolitan cities forms the prior goal in dwelling an intelligent city. These plans can be achieved by refining public services including health care facilities, transport and traffic management, sagacious energy and water utilization and proper waste disposal with a purpose of delivering a congenial lifestyle.
Dharamshala, the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh can be appreciated for the significant growth remarkably noticed in every sphere of life, although some issues that hamper the development are still encountered. A literacy rate of 77% cannot be ignored; therefore prime need of the hour is education that must reach every corner of the place. Some of the poorly isolated regions located on the outskirts remain unconnected even now. Better and early transportation can aid in accessibility to reach such lower regions of the State. Another target that needs to be accomplished is expansion of adequate, equitable, and holistic primary health care services to ensure healthy life by promoting public health care programs in the community for disease prevention. Ways to facilitate employment sources is another attempt to banish this reoccurring weed that follows the youth. To catalyse the creation of developed city, application of smart solutions must be shaped to provide revived infrastructure, water supply, sanitation, urban transport, e-governance, citizen participation, transparent processing, reliable utility services and institutional nourishment in the town. The focus must be laid on sustainable and comprehensive development to design a replicable but rejuvenated model which will act like a powerhouse to other aspiring cities so as to build a smarter and stronger India .
Dharamshala has been privileged as a Tibetan abode of spiritual leader Dalia lama and now when it is announced as first smart city of Himachal Pradesh as the hill town among 98 cities across India, this added another feather to its cap and raised the pride to zenith. The place serves as a tourist destination to domestic as well as international trekkers. The pre- existing heritage in Dharamshala and its natural resources has enabled it to grab a window of opportunity that directs it to put a pan city initiative into practice. Pan-city strategy that acknowledges at least one Smart Solution city-wide triggers the step by step redevelopment of core topographical elements. A smart proposal needs to be handled smartly. It is mandatory to understand the essential requirements of people and the place before reincarnating the plans and finances into action. Ministry of urban development should march ahead among various communities to monitor and evaluate the necessary requisites prior to invest huge amounts in projects.
The key to unlock “Smart City” solution is to relate and intersect competitiveness, capital and sustainability. Also figure out how a city can grow to accommodate them in a relevant and cost-effective way. Some of the global projects motivates and redirects the innovative ideas into feasible projects that could prove beneficial from every aspect. One such practice in Boston is commendable. One of the best offers that can be replicated in Dharamshala is the generation of five city apps with wide range of uses, one that allows residents to report neighbourhood problems to the government, helping commuters find on-street parking in the Innovation District. These apps empower citizens to extend the civic-sensor network at no additional cost. A set up that delivers large number of free WiFi hotspots to its inhabitants would definitely reinforce the knowledge about internet and its importance to excel in computer or mobile phone assisted technologies. Secondly it employs Time to Destination message signs provided by All Traffic Solutions and Smart Parking Sensors to better control traffic, harnessing smart city technology to get more children walking to school and to collect data from its concerned system to reduce road congestion. The most recent speculation in witty technology by the city could be the investment in solar powered benches that not only charge gadgets, but also monitor air quality and sound levels. Apart from consuming technology, it is our moral commitment to encourage citizens to voluntarily participate in energy conservation by providing ways that guides them to save sources. Smart city proposal is itself a boon to Dharamshala, so one must endeavour sincerely to put forth the best foot forward in framing “Dharamshala of my dreams”. My heartiest wish is that the smart city construction of Dharamshala comes out to be a great venture with an applaudable outcome.
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