Vijay Dev, the adviser to the UT administrator, who had joined the office about six months back, is known for his tough stance when it comes to the administration. The fitness-freak officer has been trying his best to take the administration close to the city residents by carrying out reality checks and meetings the stakeholders.
The adviser shares his future plans and vision for the city in an interview to the Hindustan Times. Excerpts:
Have you been able to change the attitude of officers in UT administration?
Perhaps some of us had become lethargic, but through proper guidance and discipline, lethargy has been shed and things have started moving in the right direction. Now, we are in top gear. Human resources are like vectors and making them unidirectional has been the focus area. Whatever may be the affiliations, we all have to work for the betterment of Chandigarh and its people. From day one, the fight was in terms of institutionalizing responsiveness in the administration. I firmly believe that physical, logistic developments can fall in place provided the administration is willing and is open to do things as per the aspirations of the society.
What are your plans for the smart city?
Our vision is to go beyond the smart city concept guidelines laid down by the government of India. We want to list out different services across the departments and enable all these through web-based and smart phone solutions. Smart-based solutions would be offered across the departments, such as obtaining your ration card, Aadhar card, paying bills of any department. Basically, whatever sampark centres are doing, people should be able to do that sitting at home using a smart phone.
Will the residents have to pay a price for acquiring the smart city tag?
One thing that always helps is when your vision and commitment is evident to people, many things change. All politicians also want positive things to happen. For imposing house tax or congestion tax in the city, depending upon the situation, we will take all necessary action required to be taken. Revenue generation is prerequisite and the Chandigarh municipal corporation is required to become self-reliant in terms of finances for the smart city project. On smart city project, all the political parties are on board as stakeholders. No one can be against this.
What do you think are the achievements of your tenure?
Two projects — Metro and modernisation of railway station — which were lying in limbo have been put on the fast track. These projects will change the city’s character. These projects, combined with a comprehensive industrial policy, will give thrust to development.
What are the challenges before the administration for getting the heritage status?
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) visit is expected in September this year. It is prequel to our heritage tag. Some of the challenges are beyond our control. One of the foremost difficulties is in terms of buffer zone at the Capitol Complex which falls both in Punjab and Haryana. Second, is the external facade of the secretariat which has been distorted due to glazing and putting up of air-conditioners. The challenge is how we restore the glory before the ICOMOS visit. We can promptly deal with cleanliness in the area and have already solved the issue of multiple-security frisking at the heritage complex. Heritage walk has already been introduced.
What is your stand on the ever existing north-south divide in the city?
I will make sure that the socalled divide goes away. As part of smart city project, the administration plans ensuring roundthe-clock power and water supply. What is incumbent upon us is that the level of public utility should be the same for the residents across the city. A team from France is also expected to guide us how to develop the semi-urban areas, villages and the southern sectors.
Traffic congestion is growing day by day. Any plans?
We are working on how to deal with the traffic congestion. Two solutions are at final stages — constructing underpasses and introducing intelligent traffic signal system. We have identified at least four sites where underpasses can come up. Secondly, the lights would be synchronised as per traffic flow, giving an integrated solution to clogging.
What is in store for the Sector-17 revamp?
We are on track when it comes to beautification of Sector 17. When we finish making changes, it will look better than even what it looked originally and what was planned. We want to do things this year only. There are some nano solutions available where the pores of the concrete and brick are covered and the water weather conditions do not destroy the surface. The fungi coming on the buildings are also treated through it. We are taking time to ensure that the solutions which are there are heritage compliant and also should be there for a considerable period of time.
How can the city be made IT hub?
There are a few historical issues with Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Information Technology Park which are under active consideration. Inclusion of various IT/ITES activities will generate jobs, already BPOs have started getting registered.