Urbanisation is increasing at a rapid rate and along with it comes various vices, which we need to tackle with the help of technology, says A Venu Prasad, Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab. While delivering the keynote address at the Elets Innovation Summit, Chandigarh on the theme ‘Innovation for a Better Future’, Venu Prasad stressed on the fact that 40 percent urban population belong to Punjab.
He said, “Today in Punjab, we have roughly 1.5 percent of our landmass in the country and we are contributing three percent to our GDP. Roughly, our urban population is 40 percent. In the next few years, it may touch up to 50 percent. Punjab is going to be one of the most urbanised states of the country in the coming years.”
While urbanisation is the order of the day and comes with a lot of convenience for the citizens, it has its dark side as well. Talking about the problems of urbanisation, Venu Prasad states, “There are several problems with urbanisation owing to the limited landmass. Earlier, the building construction used to take place in plotted manner and now it takes place in a flatted manner. Also, the demands of urban population in terms of power and water are immense.”
The Principal Secretary stated the ways taken by the Punjab Government to mitigate these challenges. “To curb this problem, we are transforming the water supply from tube well based to canal based. At present, the water is highly contaminated and the issue of ground water depletion is also looming large. To deal with this situation, we are going towards 24*7 surface water/drinking water facility.”
He also shared the initiatives taken by the Punjab Government for to curb the challenges of urbanisation. “In the cities of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar, we have set up command and control centres, which would facilitate us to control any kind of crisis from a single point.”
He also talked about how technology is being deployed in the Power sector. “In the Power sector, the role of technology is immense. Earlier, we used to talk about scheduling of power, for example, one or two hours scheduling for a block. Now, with time, the duration of scheduling is getting reduced to 15 minutes a block. The Government of India is planning to reduce it to five minutes,” said Venu Gopal.
While ending his address, he reiterated on the fact that technology is changing the landscape of India and the factors for successful deployment of technology. “There are three components required for successful dissemination of technology. These are robustness, cost effectiveness and user friendliness. If these three factors are implemented, then it will automatically be used by everyone. IT is going to be a major tool to deal with the rising problems of urbanisation.”