When Mr. Kumar Iyer, holding the office of British Dy High Commission Mumbai and Director General UK Trade and Investment India, gave the Key note address at the Nagpur Global Summit 2015, the audience was left spell bound not just with his oratory but his vision for joint co operation between UK and India in a number of ways, in many sectors. He pointed out the number of ways in which these two countries have special ties and the tremendous influence India has on U.K.
Like he pointed out in a lighter vein, if Shree 420 were to be made again, and made in London instead of Mumbai, you would have a Hugh Grant ( instead of Raj Kapoor ) singing ” Mera shirt hai Hindustani, mai khata Indian food, peeta Indian Dawai…lekin dil hai made in England!”
His Excellency Mr. Iyer pointed out that British markets are flooded with Indian food, Indian made pharma products, Indian made clothes – even the richest man in England today is of Indian origin!
UK is the largest G 20 nation investing in India and India is the 3rd largest nation investor of UK… he pointed out examples like Cipla, which is a 100% Indian company, manufacturing in India but who has recently shifted its H.Q. to England.
Later Ms. Fredrika Ornbrant, Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai spoke at length about how her country had gone about building a ‘smart cities’ a model they have developed that is called SymbioCity.
The theory behind is this –
How urban growth is managed has enormous implications on the possibility to avoid potentially disastrous impacts on climate change. A number of environmental challenges – most of them related to climate change – must be dealt with in cities. These include e.g. natural and man-made hazards; traffic congestion; traffic deaths and injuries; air pollution from industry and traffic; lack of green areas and biological diversity; deficiencies in existing waste, water and sanitation systems etc. Energy supply based on fossil fuels and low energy efficiency in buildings are often major causes of environmental problems as CO2 emissions and other kinds of air pollution contribute to climate change. All these issues contribute to the urban health crisis. Hand in hand with urbanisation have come parasites such as tapeworm, roundworm etc. that previously were usually confined to rural areas.
The growth of the population in many cities is strongly interrelated with a deteriorating environment and a wide spectrum of health hazards. Urban problems have many sources and causes: rapid growth in population and area which is not met by corresponding investments in services; insufficient technology in industry; transport increasing in volume and not environmentally adapted; insufficient sewage systems causing direct emissions of waste water from industry and households into rivers and onto land; unsatisfactory waste management etc.
This large-scale urban growth – especially in some areas of Asia and Africa – brings a pressing need for more holistic planning and governance of city development, including environmental system solutions. There is also an urgent need for improved management and operations of municipal technical infrastructure. These issues formed the background of the Swedish initiative and launch of the Symbio City Approach. The Symbio City Approach forms a starting point for further development of methods and tools concerning sustainable urban development in developing and transition countries.
THE EXAMPLE OF HAMMARBY SJÖSTAD, STOCKHOLM
Making an entire sustainable urban district
Fredrika gave the fascinating example of how using the principles of Symbiocity a new district has emerged around the lake of Hammarby Sjö in Stockholm. A run-down port and industrial area has been cleaned up, developed and converted into a modern and eco-friendly district. Hammarby Sjöstad is Stockholm’s largest urban development project with its own environmental programme incorporating energy supply, water and wastewater treatment and waste management.
The Swedish example has shown how there is “Cash in Trash”.
They make such exemplary use of every kind of trash to generate energy, make gas for cooking and use of cleaned and recycled sewage water too that they have now begun purchasing trash of their neighbouring nations to ‘recycle’ and profit from!
Mr. Park Pierce, Consul General of Australia in Mumbai also spoke about the Australian issues of urbanization and how they have tackled their problems.
He commented on the unique problems of India which has such large populations to handle, for example in a city like Mumbai.
“The Amazon river of people” he called it. (Everyday, as many people travel in Mumbai locals as the entire population of a province of Australia).
Speaking of the example of Sydney, which many call the ‘most beautiful city in the world’ he narrated how they had consciously marketed the city to international tourists which had also automatically brought in many business’ too.
Apart from these high placed foreign officials there was Ms Sharon Memis, Director West India at British Council Division, Mr. Bill Boerum, Chairman of the Directors of Sister Cities International also Chairman of Northern CAlifornia Health Care Authority, USA and Ms. Claire Petrich, Board Member, Greater Seattle Trade Development Alliance and on the board of Directors of Port city of Tacoma also.
Nagpur is Sister City to Santa Clara
Bill Boerum informed the audience that the American city of Santa Clara has already been declared as ‘Sister City’ of Nagpur which could lead to great benefits to our city given the credentials of Santa Clara.
Santa Clara is located in the center of the Silicon valley and is home to the headquarters of several high-tech companies such as Intel. It is also home to Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California. Levi’s stadium, the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and the future site of Super Bowl 50 and the 2019 College Football Playoff title game is located in the city.
There were many fascinating talks and discussions on how Nagpur was right in forefront in the race for ‘Smart cities’ among all the 20 Indian cities that are being considered for the honour.
Karuna Gopal, Founder President of the Foundation for Futuristic cities chaired the session that deliberated on Road maps to growth towards a smarter city.
All the speakers agreed that unless there was perfect alignment between Government, bureaucracy, intelligentia, academicians, NGOs and citizens at large, the vision of a smart city could not be achieved in practise.
Nagpur First, had managed to gather so many foreign experts , and even expert NRIs like Rahul Petkar, CEO Polaris Financial Technologies, Member Advisory board of the city of Mississaauga and on video conferencing Dr. Nemkumar Benthia Professor and distinguished scholar of the University of British Columbia, Canada and Mr. Morel Fourman Founder and CEO, Gaiasoft Group of Companies that it was easily the most impressive array of talent Nagpur has ever seen on a single dais.
One could not help wondering where Nagpur’s own ‘leaders’ and officers such as Devendra Fadnavis C.M. and an avowed Nagpurian, Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar, Mr. Brijesh Dixit, MD of Nagpur Metro were at this august gathering after having committed to be there?
Perhaps their busy schedules kept them away, but it was Nagpur’s loss.