09 Feb 2019  |   05:30am IST

Danish govt to set up Urban Living Lab in Panjim

Noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil has warned that Goa may face the same kind of flood which recently battered Kerala if it does not take head-on the environmental precautions. Like many other states in India, Goa too has lately seen the profit-driven activities, compromising to some environmental issues. VIKANT SAHAY dwelled into this issue, to find out how Panjim, the smart city, is now preparing itself to pre-empt any such similar disaster which happened in Kerala recently.


PANJIM: To jointly establish an Urban Living Lab at Panjim on sustainable and smart cities with the purpose of integrating global sustainable solutions including on water, the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSDCL) and the Royal Danish Embassy, New Delhi have agreed to collaborate through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which was signed on January 16 this year.
A delegation had visited Panjim on December 13-14, 2018 and had a meeting with IPSDCL to identify potential thrust areas to establish an Urban Living Lab at Panjim. Following this, a report was submitted by the consultants to Danish Embassy based on this visit and pre-feasibility report on Urban Living Lab for sustainable and smart cities has been prepared by IPSDCL. Further to this the Danish Ambassador to India Peter Taksoe-Jensen visited Panjim on January 7 this year to hold discussion with all stakeholders. 
The Ministry of External Affairs of India also through its press release informed that Denmark is a global leader in several niche technologies which are relevant to India. “During the meeting, two MoUs on maritime issues between the Ministry of Shipping of India and the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs of Denmark and MoU with Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited with Danish Embassy, New Delhi was signed to establish an Urban Living Lab in Panaji, Goa,” said the MEA press communiqué.
Areas of Collaboration under this MoU will be programmes, projects and activities on the Urban Living Lab and shall be aimed at strengthening engineering, managerial and operational capacities in the potential thrust areas that have emerged for smart cities in India. The areas which are under high priority under this collaboration are Urban Flood Management, Urban Water Body Management, Urban Mobility and any other areas that are of mutual interest may be added from time to time.
The operation of the Urban Living Lab will include analytics and research, exchange of knowledge, institutional cooperation, organizing joint seminars and conferences, demonstrations/ pilot projects for technical solutions and showcase of global best practices and capacity building and training including training of trainers and sustainability leaders. According to the MoU, IPSDCL will provide support in terms of work space and resources and the Royal Danish Embassy will help to identify the requirements based on the proposed activities.
“The Urban Living Lab is a citizen centric approach having put urban innovations at the core for better public service delivery. It will bring an extensive collaborative and participatory approach to work with the citizens to ensure sustainable solutions to urbanized issues are delivered seamlessly and in a time bound manner. It shall provide excellent avenues for us in Goa to reach out to the world in terms of quick transformations that the city has been delivering as well as delivering protocols for other cities with similar urban challenges to follow. It will truly provide a platform for peer to peer learning between the two cities,” said Swayandipta Pal Chaudhuri, MD and CEO of IPSDCL, the signatory of this MoU with Danish Ambassador.
Director of IPSDCL, Sidharth Kuncalienkar said “I want to thank the Governments of Denmark and India for having agreed to support the Urban Living Lab for Panjim in Goa. I also believe that this MoU shall open opportunities for various segments, especially for the Goan youth.”
Around 130 Danish companies have invested in India in areas such as shipping, renewable energy, environment, agriculture and food processing. The Danish companies are keen to expand their engagements in other sectors like smart urban development and waste-to-energy. 


Iddhar Udhar