Things have definitely turned from good to better ever since Kolkata topped the chart as the â€˜best Indian city to liveâ€™ in Janaagrahaâ€™s Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems.
According to reports published by Janaagraha,Â quality of living in Kolkata is the best among 21 major Indian cities surveyed by the Bangalore-based non-profit body. Kolkata was followed by Thiruvananthapuram and Bhopal, while Delhi and Mumbai ranked fifth and ninth, respectively.
Kolkata, in the last few years, has improved considerably. Fast-paced infrastructure developments are giving the city the much-needed facelift overdue for some time. New roads and flyovers are coming up in various parts of the city, along with the East-West Metro corridor, which promises high-speed connectivity spanning the entire city.
With new waves of development and modernization, hereâ€™s how the City of Joy is headed towards a promising future.
Big Time Infra Push
Though not adequate, Kolkata still has a good number of roads, flyovers, stations, and subways. The metro is the lifeline of the city, connecting the entire length and breadth of Kolkata. The city provides a steady supply of drinking water and electricity, has a state-of-the-art sewerage system, andÂ an exemplary solid waste management facilities, which include recycling and resource recovery.
Infrastructure development has always been the primary focus of the present administration, and now, the city’s infrastructure is going to get even better with an additional allocation of Rs. 12,180 crore, recently announced by the state government.
A major chunk of this amount will go into twelve road projects, including six flyovers and an elevated corridor. The BT Road in north Kolkata, once a nightmare for commuters, will be transformed into a six-lane highway with three vehicular underpasses. Extension of the EM Bypass and the Metro rail are also in the offing. If these projects do materialize, it will completely eliminate traffic bottlenecks and lessen the commute time considerably.
The state government has moreover sent a proposal to the Union railway ministry to consider a bullet-train service between Howrah and Durgapur. This will reduce the travel time from over two-and-a-half hours to under an hour.
Improved Traffic Management
It may not be too evident for the residents of the city, but according to a Times of India article, the average traffic speed in the city has gone up by 19% in the last year.
The article has cited a finding from the app cab aggregator, Ola, which has estimated 9000-plus GPS-enabled cabs operating in Kolkata. According to an independent study by Ola, the average traffic speed in the city has shot up from 17 kmph to 20.2 kmph in the past year â€” which is a rise of 19%.
While infrastructural developments, such as the â€˜Maa flyoverâ€™, are improving the city traffic, changes in city’s traffic management is also a contributing factor. For instance, the signaling system has been changed from localized to interlinked control. Easy operation from a central control room ensures better monitoring and management so traffic bottlenecks can be avoided.
The Kolkata police are also considering upgrading the technology to manage traffic more efficiently. At present, there are 2-megapixel cameras installed at most of the major intersections, but soon, the city will come under the surveillance of 5-megapixel cameras.
The decision comes from the understanding that though CCTV cameras provide useful evidence, hazy picture quality often ruins the probe. Improved camera capabilities will be of great help to ensure the conviction of an accused.
Clean and Green City Initiatives
The `Clean City` campaign, launched by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), pledges to make Kolkata a garbage vat free city. Five movers and sixteen portable compactors have already been purchased, and thirty-nine new mobile compactors are being acquired under the Clean City project.
In addition, the urban development department of the West Bengal government has decided to spend almost Rs. 650 crore to increase the green cover throughout the city.
The projects undertaken under the Green City Mission include the development of parks and green spaces, landscaping along historic buildings, illumination through LED lights, installation of solar panels, and conservation of water bodies. IT-enabled utility services and smart transportation system are also a part of Kolkata Corporation’s Green City Mission.
More Good News
This year’s Union budget has included provisions for investments in infrastructure under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) to improve the quality of life in major cities across India. If these projects are implemented, it may completely change the face of Kolkata and further increase its appeal.