Shimla: Congested and worn off its sheen as a former summer capital of British India, the French have come calling with a business delegation to provide technology for improvising outdated colonial infrastructure and turn Shimla into a smart city.
France’s ambassador to India, Mr Francois Richier in the morning here today told reporters that given an integrated perspective with a master plan and key objectives defined, French companies specializing in power, lighting and transportation sectors could do much for turning around cities in Himachal Pradesh into smart cities.
Leading a delegation of 15 companies, he said that talks with the state government were in an advanced stage for achieving energy efficiencies in street lighting, improving public bus transportation, ropeway carriages and tramways.
“Given the mountainous topography of Shimla, a metro rail track was not suitable for the city,” said Mr Richier.
Keen to invest in the state, the delegation interacted with officers from the urban development department upon the issues related to transport solution and mobility, technical solutions for waste collection, urban transportation and re-cycling, appropriate technology for introducing decentralized seepage management system, street lighting and others.
For improvising transportation concepts such as sensor sensitive buses and bus stops with electronic signage’s linked to a IT controlled central transport logistic command room for regulating public bus transport systems, using LED street lighting where the illumination can be controlled by computers for saving energy costs and other urban technologies are part of the investment bargain with tech transfer.
Earlier the delegation which included Mr. Jean-Rene, Minister Counsellor and Head of Regional Economic Services for South Asia, Mr Ilika Mann, Counsellor for Regional and Legal Relations, Embassy of France, Ms Fanny Herve, Counsellor Sustainable Development, Embassy of France, Ms Camille Severac, Project officer, French Development Agency in India (AFD) and other delegates specialized in the field of Urban Development and Solar Energy met chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
The delegation deliberated upon creating Smart Cities in the State having adequate infrastructure and facilities like proper water treatment, waste management, urban transport and street lighting, said an official spokesman.
The Chief Minister intends to take up and develop major towns like Shimla, Manali, and Dharmashala as Smart Cities, he added.
Senior officers Mr Vineet Chaudhry, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development, Mr V.C. Pharka, Additional Chief Secretary, Mrs Poornima Chauhan, Special Secretary, Urban Development, Capt. J.M. Pathania, Director, Urban Development and others interacted with the delegation.
Creating new parking spaces increased number of vehicles on Paris roads – Richier
Interacting with Hill Post, Ambassador Mr Francois Richier shared the experience of creating more parking spaces in Paris:
disclosed that the Paris municipality on creating more parking spaces in the metro realized that it was not solving the problem but adding to it.
By creating more parking spaces, the number of cars on Paris roads kept increasing as additional parking spaces became available, said Richier.
“To discourage people from buying more cars and to reduce traffic congestion, a reverse policy has been adopted by the municipality. Parking spaces in the city are now being reduced,” said the French Ambassador.