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Aurangabad city to have Operation Command Centre to ensure safe, transparent and cost effective service delivery: Astik Pandey, CEO, ASCDCL

In an interaction with Express Computer, Astik Kumar Pandey, CEO, Aurangabad Smart City Development Corporation Ltd shares how emerging technologies are aiding the ASCDCL to integrate citizen services. He also says that an integrated municipal eGovernance system will be in place to digitise citizen centric applications as well as the municipal corporation’s internal activities. It would create a backbone and framework of technology so that various emerging technologies like IoT devices, sensors, surveillance cameras, analytics and social media tech, can be leveraged for increased revenue collection and more efficient service delivery. Interestingly, ASCDCL has also built a solar energy project as part of which 80 kw solar power capacity has been raised.

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As a CEO, how do you plan to make Aurangabad a Smart City with the help of emerging technologies?

Any technology implementation in a smart city must have the objective of infusing a better ease of living for the citizens. With this in mind, in Aurangabad we are using various technologies to ensure that we are able to deliver services to the citizens in a better manner as well as to ensure that the voice of the citizens is heard frequently and more effectively. There are many emerging technologies that are being implemented in Aurangabad. Already mobile apps have been used during the Covid-19 pandemic and a citizen app is now being developed under the Smart City programme. An integrated municipal eGovernance system will be in place to digitise citizen centric applications as well as the municipal corporation’s internal activities. The main idea is to create a backbone and framework of technology so that various emerging technologies such as IoT devices, sensors, surveillance cameras, analytics and social media tech, can be leveraged for increased revenue collection and more efficient service delivery.

 

What kind of latest initiatives you have taken with respect to tech adoption in Aurangabad Smart City Development Corporation Ltd?

We at Aurangabad Smart City are taking a leap in technology adoption. Our command and control centre at the police headquarters is getting feed from CCTV cameras installed at all main junctions across the city. The upcoming Operation Command Centre (OCC) will help the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation to ensure safe, improved, transparent and consequently cost effective service delivery. Under the Smart City project we have installed digital screens at key junctions for improved communication with the citizens and to generate revenue for the Smart City Project. The process of integration of GPS in city buses and garbage collection vehicles to our command centres is going to help us in enhancing our service delivery. While we are establishing a city-wide surveillance and integration system, a data centre is established to take care of our data needs.

 

We have seen you are encouraging people to use cycles for various purposes to save the environment. How do you intend to provide smart transportation to the people of Aurangabad via use of IT?

Aurangabad Smart City bus service resumed after Covid-19 lockdown with a host of new technological features that makes it safer, faster and more convenient. The contactless e-ticketing system, Smart Cards for passengers, LED displays and audio announcements in buses, city bus mobile app and online portal, vehicle tracking system for management, hi-tech body cameras for bus line inspectors makes it one of the smartest yet affordable public transport systems in India. Now, we are in discussions with cycle manufacturers and vendors to establish a public bike sharing (PBS) system in Aurangabad. The cloud-based PBS will complement the upcoming cycle tracks in the city and will facilitate a complete city guide for outsiders and tourists.

 

In a smart city, smart metering, green transportation, green buildings and clean source of energy are a must component. What sort of technology innovations have been implemented by Aurangabad Smart City Ltd in the recent years?

Innovation in technology has been one of the main themes in smart city implementation. We are embarking on an ambitious project for water distribution wherein water meters will be introduced at an appropriate stage. The smart bus service in Aurangabad has been one of the successes of our smart city project and we are undertaking various initiatives to make the service more efficient such as an Intelligent Transport Service for better route and vehicle management and handheld e-ticketing machines to promote cashless ticketing. As a part of the eGovernance program, we intend to provide an app for tourists to boost tourism in the city. Aurangabad Smart City has also implemented a solar energy project as part of which 80 kw solar power capacity has been raised.

 

What are some of your major challenges with respect to technology adoption?

Brownfield implementations – which most smart cities are – have challenges mainly with respect to the physical deployment of the backbone. Since, connectivity is an important element for technology to prosper, rolling out the citywide network has been one of the main challenges. It is also a learning for growing cities like ours, that when new roads are constructed, suitable conduits and ducts should be designed to allow the laying of high speed cables throughout the cities. Technology is changing rapidly and managing this pace of change is going to be a key challenge going forward to ensure that the smart city technologies do not fall behind.

 


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