It was a moment of pride for Kolkata when the city was honoured with the C40 Cities Award last year at an awards ceremony in Mexico City. Kolkata‚Äôs Solid Waste Management Improvement Project (KSWMIP) was chosen as a winner for ‚ÄúSolid Waste‚ÄĚ in the C40 Mayors Summit, where 40 mayors from around the world assembled to create more sustainable cities for their residents.
Over the last few years, the Kolkata Solid Waste Management Improvement Project is doing a brilliant job in limiting the risks of climate change that is often aggravated by the unsanitary disposal of waste. KSWMIP, a body under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, has already accomplished 60-80% waste segregation at its source with plans to completely eliminate open dumping and burning of waste to restrict the methane gas concentration at landfill sites.
Overall, the city‚Äôs beautification agenda is driven by clean and green initiatives like planting trees, building safe pathways, deploying better waste management system, and aesthetically beautifying the Kolkata riverfront ‚Äď a 10 km stretch along the Hooghly river bank from Baranagar in the north to Garden Reach on the southern fringes. The amount that is being spent by the Bengal government on beautification is just 2% of the state‚Äôs annual budget, and the money is not being diverted from funds that are already allocated for social sector developments.
Having said that, here are some key initiatives that are underway to make the city cleaner, greener, and more ‚Äėliveable‚Äô.
Road Dividers, Guard Rails, and Maintenance of City Parks with Corporate Participation
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), to ensure safer mobility of citizens, is erecting road dividers and guardrails around the city. The dividers, with plantation in-between, will create greenery, enhance beauty, and make sure the citizens of Kolkata are safe. KMC is involving the private sector to maintain the median strips dividing the lanes beautified with a variety of saplings. Officials from KMC believe that roping in big corporate houses to adopt the city‚Äôs open spaces won‚Äôt be much of a problem since business houses these days are willing to spend a large sum of money on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Modern Abattoirs at Tangra
The Union Ministry of Food Processing has agreed to partner with Kolkata Municipal Corporation to transform the old slaughterhouses in Tangra. The new abattoirs will include fully automated equipment with adequate facilities to take care of health, hygiene, and cleanliness. The modern abattoirs will comply with international-class food processing standards as well as environmental norms.
KMC, the civic body of Kolkata, has decided to put up eight new foot¬†overbridges in some of the city‚Äôs most congested traffic intersections. According to a preliminary report, the civic body will start with Esplanade (east), Chittaranjan Avenue- B.B. Ganguli Street intersection, Dorina Crossing, Chittaranjan Avenue- Mahatma Gandhi Road intersection, Bhupen Bose Road, and Chittaranjan Avenue-Ganesh Chandra Avenue crossing before taking up other thoroughfares for the construction of foot overbridges. All these foot overbridges will feature escalators to encourage more pedestrians to use these bridges, which will help avoid accidents and ensure safety.
Refurbishing the Heritage Buildings
Kolkata, once known as the City of Palaces, has come into disrepute as we have not succeeded in refurbishing and maintaining our beautiful architectural wonders and the heritage buildings. It is painful to see some of our heritage buildings is a state of disrepair. There is an urgent need to government and citizens‚Äô initiative in this regard.
Landscaping and Plantation
The West Bengal Wasteland Development Corporation Limited (WBWDC) is considering taking up a number of plantation, beautification, and roadside landscaping projects. The proposed plan includes compensatory plantation for trees felled due to various infrastructural projects, the creation of theme gardens, nature walks, and a deer park in the Rajarhat area. The authority is working to build a nature interpretation centre at the Aquatic Hub off EM Bypass and is also planning to amplify the ambiance of Salt Lake’s Banabitan by ramping up its amenities.
People from various parts of Bengal have been deployed under the 100-day work scheme by the KMC to take care of the day-to-day conservancy work. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has procured 10 hydraulic ladders for scientific cutting and trimming of trees while the West Bengal fire department is mulling the use of drones to sharpen its edge in fighting a fire. The initiatives will make the city cleaner, greener, and a lot safer.
The refurbishing drive will ensure better waste management and cleanliness, expand green spaces, augment transportation facilities, and perhaps make Kolkata more beautiful and appealing to domestic as well as international tourists.