Guwahati, Thursday, October 17, 2019
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Workshop on smart and sustainable cities
 JALUKBARI, Oct 16 - A two-day workshop on ‘Smart and Sustainable Cities’ was organised recently by Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) and Centre for Ecology, Environment and Sustainable Development, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) at the TISS campus here. It was coordinated by Dr Abhinandan Saikia and Dr Namita Brahma.

The workshop highlighted the 3rd, 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 15th Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and deliberated on four areas – water, waste, energy and technology, and urban ecology.

The first day consisted of the two sessions, first on water where Dr Partho Jyoti Das highlighted the ‘water woes’ such as shrinking ground water level, urban flooding and spoke about a ‘thirsty city’ like Guwahati while raising an important question – ‘How prepared are we to deal with these?’ Dr Arup Kumar Sarma made a presentation on ‘watershed-based ecological management practices for converting a multi-hazard city into a smart city’ while emphasising the ‘urban carrying capacity’.

The day ended with Dr Sachin Warghade speaking on the importance of water governance and syncing it with smart water networks and Dr Sadhan Mahapatra speaking about energy and technology, focusing on low cost and energy efficient technology such as photovoltaic systems.

The second day began with a field visit to the landfill site at Boragaon, which has been polluting the Deepor Beel.

This was followed by a session on waste by Sanjay Gupta. “Waste management is not a rocket science but certainly a rocket-strong determination is needed to bring a change,” Gupta said, emphasising the connection between governance of waste and its economic value.

The last session was on urban ecology in which Dr PC Bhattarcharjee spoke about the functional habitat of the ecosystem surrounding the urban biodiversity and dwelt on the importance of maintaining the city’s endemic biodiversity.

Dr Himashree Bhattacharyya talked about the concept of ‘walkability’ taking into account aspects such as the inabilities of the specially-abled in urban infrastructure.

Dr Jayanta Pathak gave a holistic approach to urban ecology, which included using the model of visibility index, smart bus stops and also talked about tracing change in landscape through imagery.

At the conclusion of the workshop, Dr PC Bhattacharjee said, “Cities never become smart; people need to become smart and they can turn a city into a sustainably smart city.”

Moloy Bora, Managing Director of GSCL, attended the workshop as the guest of honour. Other dignitaries who attended the workshop included RK Barman, head of science and technology, ASTEC; Jaidip Barua, head of environment, ASTEC; Dr Kalpana Sarthy, director of TISS Guwahati and Dr Sanjay Barbora, dean of the School of Social Sciences, TISS, among others.

The vote of thanks was delivered by Dr Namita Brahma.

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