The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which distributed 350,000 physical forms to societies in the city earlier this week for its ‘Pune Smart City Challenge- Stage 2’, has collected suggestions from over 125,000 families in a week, reports TOI. The form, which includes filling out details like name, gender, pin code, email ID and mobile number, also has two questions which ask:
– What should be the vision for Pune?
– What are the 3 big issues you currently face in the city?
The initiatives are also accessible online through http://punesmartcity.in/ and http://smartcity.punecorporation.org/ where users can fill those details to submit the form. According to the TOI report, an additional 12,000 people have submitted these forms online. The drive to collect this info will go on till Monday.
Topping the list of Pune citizens’ concerns are environment and cleanliness and issues like water supply, traffic and transport will also be featured in the draft vision document. The PMC’s initiative, has of course, faced issues and more along the way, which the Municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar said would be addressed.
Scenes at my data entry Center at 6 am today..Wow! Hats off to these young volunteers.. pic.twitter.com/v4obMZXmmB
— Kunal Kumar (@KunalKumarPMC) September 25, 2015
Late last month, the Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu approved 98 cities of the initially submitted 100 cities, to participate in the Government’s smart city plan for the country. According to the minister, these 98 cities covered a population of 13 crore people or around 35% of the urban population.
Data collection from citizen in 3 phases
As of now, the PMC plans to seek various inputs from citizens over the next 2 months in three phases, in order to get selected in the first list of 20 smart cities by January 2016. In the first phase (Envision: 17- 28 Sept), it will collect the information from the forms we cited above. In the second phase (Diagnose: 29 Sept- 9 Oct), it will identify the ‘most vital’ issues which need to be resolved in the city, while the third phase (Co-create: 12- 23 Oct) will aim to address the issues using solutions the PMC has identified and create a plan ‘very close to reality’ to be practically implemented. The corporation also calls on citizens who want to become volunteers by emailing email@example.com.
The PMC had also previously held an online and offline contest(pdf) with cash prizes of Rs 25,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 for its citizens on ‘How to make Pune a smart city’, where people needed to submit ideas across a bunch of topics.
This is not a discouragement: While crowdsourcing initiatives are great ways to actually receive information and ensure public participation to a certain degree, the PMC must take note of critical issues like electricity and water supply along with public transport and infrastructure, before it is hit with Smart City woes (if Pune gets selected). Definitive development of a city will lead to less stress on its resources, while accommodating the needs of the masses and providing options for a better standard of living. Also, the data that the PMC is collecting casts questions on citizen privacy, given that info like date of birth, email ID and phone numbers are being provided to the corporation. There should be some clarity on how the PMC plans to store and use this data in the future, and not give it out to marketing companies.
We’re not sure as to how many of the selected 98 cities have similar initiatives by their local governments and corporations. If you’re in one of these cities and know of such initiatives, please let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.
Image Credit: Flickr user Michelle Lee