24 Jun 2024  |   05:44am IST

Smart City versus Happy City


According to a news report, the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) has at last woken up and proposed to prepare a master plan to control and prevent flooding of Panjim by restoring and repairing the storm water drains in the City.

Those of us who have known Panjim city long enough, will know that the storm water drainage system was built during the pre-liberation Portuguese regime and served the city quite effectively, until hazard planning, building and construction activities blocked the flow of water, and damaged the storm drainage system.

What Panjim City requires is not another master plan but action to prevent flooding. What Panjim City requires is not a Smart City plan but a Happy City plan. A city with smoother roads, better pavements, better government services, better connectivity and better parking facilities. For the last 7 years since the Smart City project was launched at the cost of thousands of crores much of which seems to have gone down the drain, the residents of Panjim have been living a miserable unhappy life, and life for many has become a nightmare.

Apparently, the Smart City master plan was prepared at the cost of crores, by a consultant brought in from Europe, who may have had little idea oaf the ground realities in Goa.

It would appear that at no stage were the views of citizens and local experts of whom there are quite a few, including Edgar Ribeiro, at one time the Chief Town Planner of Goa, and subsequently the Chief Town Planner of India in New Delhi and who is also a resident of Panjim, taken on board and into account. A master plan for the prevention of flooding in Panjim should have been a part of the Smart City project so that all excavations could be dovetailed and done once and for all. If a new master plan for the prevention of flooding in Panjim is prepared, does it mean that the residents of Panjim will be the victims of one more round of excavations of roads that have recently been repaired?

The citizens can only hope that the coming months and years will restore the happiness of the City and the residents of Panjim. One can only hope and pray for better times.


Idhar Udhar