From: Keshav Bhatia Consulting
Published: Sat Apr 23 2005

The blueprint to make Indian cities work needs an integrated and holistic approach with partnership models. This was evolved in the three-day International Municipalika Exhibition and Conference 2005 concluded in the Capital today with 312 participants, including 52 Mayors and representatives from 80 cities across the country.

Organized by the Good Governance India Foundation, Municipalika 2005 with participation of National and International agencies, focused on participative models of infrastructure and township development, provision of adequate and Quality Water for All, Good Sanitation and Waste Management Strategies as well as using E-governance as the solution to Regular and Accountable Citizen Interfaces with Municipal Governments. The use of GIS/GPS and Remote Sensing Applications for city management was also discussed extensively at the three-day Conference.

The exhibition included 42 participants from agencies/enterprises ranging from Mechanical Road and Floor Sweepers, manufacturers of a range of Waste and Trash Management systems, manufacturers of pipes and accessories for water management, stainless steel fasteners and piping systems as well as innovative development practices. Environmentally sustainable products and services was another thrust area.

Good Urban Governance and Sound Financial Management were identified as the engines that would make Urban Local Bodies financially sound. Efficient Accounting Systems through an efficient property tax regime was also debated. New avenues for resource generation were also debated extensively by Mayors, City Managers and other professionals.

The need for Public Private People’s Partnerships for Housing and Infrastructure with Citizen Participation in a big way has been behind the success stories in various Municipal Governments across the country. Success models shared included West Bengal, Hyderabad and Gujarat’s experiences. Kerala and Tamil Nadu shared their experience in successful community participation in delivery of services.

Environment issues affecting land, air and water were discussed with a clear message that development should not lead to disaster in the management of natural resources. Environment friendly, ecologically appropriate and energy saving technologies with appropriate options was a clear message.

Depleting water resources has become a threat to all cities. The problem of `shortage’ can rapidly develop into a `crisis’ if cities don’t wake up to the alarm bells that have already started ringing in many cities. Only 10 per cent of the total water is used for drinking and kitchen use. However, city governments spend vast amount of resources in purification and treatment of water. Dual piping systems have been suggested as a solution.

Waste water recycling, water harvesting and aquifer recharging have also emerged as solutions to the depleting water resources problem. Many delegates expressed concern over the large losses in transmission and distribution and discussed methods of reducing losses in supply of water.

Domestic, medical and industrial waste management as well as harnessing waste to produce energy for local use has been discussed at the deliberations. ‘Waste’ to ‘Wealth’ through energy production, `refuse’ to `resource’ and `trash’ to `cash’ have been the emerging messages from cities.

To make sure that all services reach the doorstep of every citizen, e-governance practices are in various stages of implementation across the various municipalities. This includes solutions for billing, taxation, round the clock and anytime services as well. Remote sensing and GIS/GPS data for city management is an emerging solution.

City governance, development and management and utility providers with joint initiative with civil society could lead to responsive management to make cities work. There was a large number of participation from Resident’s welfare associations across the country.

There was a call to cities to share and replicate best practices in Urban Development, Management and Governance. The efforts of Good Governance India Foundation were widely recognized in sensitizing public opinion and participation on the crying development needs of Indian cities.
Company: Keshav Bhatia Consulting
Contact Name: Keshav Bhatia
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