BENGALURU: If there are two issues that worry every Bengalurean, it is traffic and water. While the first hangs like the sword of Damocles over every commuter’s head, the other fragile resource, water, is either in short supply in our homes or in excess on our roads when it rains.
With almost every measure failing to address these two issues, the state government decided to throw a challenge by inviting opinions — individuals, researchers and faculty in colleges, universities, government laboratories, institutions to start-ups or not-for-profit organisations — on innovative solutions to reduce traffic congestion in Bengaluru city as well as to tackle the perennial water shortage.
Grand Challenge Call 5 will focus primarily on technology innovations involving last-mile connectivity, real-time information on public transport, ease of transition from one mode of transport to another and innovative parking solutions. Grand Challenge Call 6 will unearth innovative solutions to aid water conservation in Karnataka.
IT-BT Minister Priyank Kharge was closer to the truth than he thought when he said the future of our commute is unlikely to come out of any one big invention. “Instead, it will grow out of many new innovations which can be used alongside existing technologies. They will work within the context of increasingly smart transport networks that are able to respond efficiently to our ever-changing needs,” Kharge said.
Though launched under the innovative start-ups programme, experts feel there are no quick-fix solutions and more than innovative, solutions have to be firm and people-oriented in the case of traffic.
Experts suggested several ideas like first increasing the number of coaches in the Metro, push for public transportation, making policies keeping mass transportation in mind rather than going for policies that encourage ownership of more private vehicles. They also pointed out that with 3,000 new vehicles being registered every day in the city, the state had to come up with solutions that could put a dent in this at the earliest. While some felt that rules should be put in place like disallowing parking on either side of roads, for instance, others felt that the minute enforcement comes into the picture, too much energy and resources will be wasted to put it into action.
Grand Challenge Call 6 seeks innovative solutions to aid water conservation in the city. Excessive dependence on Cauvery water ought to be avoided, feel water conservation experts. To achieve this, the proposed solutions range from rain water harvesting to rejuvenation of lakes. Experts emphasise the need to have rainwater harvesting systems in place. This applies not just to individual households, but also public spaces, they add.
They also stress the need to rejuvenate water bodies in the city besides replenishing the underground water levels. Ensuring that the city’s water bodies are in good health, desilted and protected, is the first step towards self-sustainability, they say. Making way for water to enter the earth’s surface with the use of porous blocks on pavements could also contribute to improving the water levels, explain researchers.
At the administrative level, former officials, speak about the need to appoint experts in the field for top posts in BWSSB as this will not only help resolve ground level issues, but also improve policy making.