Vellore City is Northern Tamil Nadu’s gateway and an important corridor city of strategic relevance. The city is of long-standing historic importance and prides a rich heritage that traces its roots back to the Megalithic Period (C. 2500 Years). The city was ruled by Vijayanagara Kings, Bijapur Sultans, Marathas, Carnatic Nawabs and the British—traces of each of their periods in terms of their cultural contribution is scattered across the city. Given its strategic proximity to southern India’s biggest metropolises, Chennai and Bangalore, Vellore is all set to become a self-sustainable, compact and smart city that maximizes its inherent potential in heritage, education and medicine.
Vellore has moved towards decentralized systems of managing solid waste within the city. It holds the potential to evolve as a model template for other mid-sized city corporations in India. The Smart City Initiative also aims to strengthen the city’s aspiration by developing end-to-end waste management monitoring systems, automated material recovery sites and recycling of refuse plastics thereby ensuring 100% management of its solid waste. The city also envisages to reuse the treated wastewater for innovative purposes such as recharging Vellore Fort’s moat regularly for boating services, and for use in public and community toilets through dual plumbing.
Vellore aims to improve its core infrastructure by ensuring inclusive and equitable development. The vision will focus on ensuring that basic standards of liveability and sustainability such as improved green cover, improved access to pedestrians, greater focus on non-motorized transport, reliable access to basic WATSAN services and initiatives to improve the overall efficiency of resource use (such as energy, water, etc.) are achieved.
In consonance with the adage that ‘one cannot manage, what one cannot measure’, data is at the heart of Vellore’s ability to ensure effective service delivery and governance. Cities generate large amounts of data (in different formats and frequencies) already. In addition to creating new and improved sources of data, mapping existing sources of ‘data’ and promoting greater transparency and use is a big part of the city leadership’s vision.
Increase in service levels as against designated benchmarks, rise in communication between the citizens and the government, increase in usage of digital services and public utilities by the poor and disabled through the creation of exclusive crowd sourcing platforms, citizen dashboards and citizen monitoring frameworks to enable greater interaction and improved transparency in governance are some of the key goals of Vellore Smart City.
The city aims at creating systematic and incremental changes to the way it performs and is designed to make it work for all. Better infrastructure allows for more seamless and uninterrupted movement of people, vehicles and service lines to create a more productive and equitable economic and social environment. This will encourage better relationships between citizens and link disjointed and underutilized parts of the city and foster uniform growth and development.