‘Approvals are given within 48 hours’
Public cleanliness is reflective of its hygienic conscious residents and it is no less than a herculean task to induce a sense of hygiene and public cleanliness at large. Towards this end GVMC’s efforts yielded exceptional results thanks to unswerving sense of service and inspiring leadership of its Commissioner Mr. Hari Narayanan IAS.
Mr Hari Narayanan is no typical bureaucrat but a young and poised individual who has quietly played the role of implementing effective governance and bringing sea change to the corporation. Mr Hari Narayanan is an officer who possesses the 3 C’s- Cool, competent and committed. He joined IAS in 2011 and completed training in 2013 in Khammam district and served as Sub Collector & SDM in Bodhan, Nizamabad District between 2013 January 2015 subsequently served as Project Officer ITDA Paderu from January 2015 to July 2016 and then took over as the Commisssioner of the Largest Municipality of Andhra Pradesh with annual revenue of over Rs 700 Crores.
I walk into the GVMC Commissioner’s office wherein this young, yet dynamic officer is sitting calmly proceeding with the day-to-day functions making it seem totally oblivious to the fact that there is a dharna being staged outside by Trade Unions.
Mr. Hari Narayanan comes across as no nonsense person; actions speak louder than words type of officer. Tasked with the smart city mandate while making sure Vizag competes efficiently with other metropolises in the country, Mr Narayanan is a man on a mission.
Mr Hari Narayan talks exclusively to A.K.Sabharwal Editor Vizag Industrial Scan. Edited excerpts of the interview below.
There is a lot of hype and fervour surrounding smart cities. For a better understanding could you explain how being nominated as a smart city is going to transform Vizag?
Well, to begin with, the smart city project is more of a light house project. It’s not an infrastructure project, the machine is designed in such a way that each city is developed in certain service levels so that it will be a guiding light for further development of city. The Smart city initiative envisages for an area based development.
Under that area based development, 1600 acres in the city have been identified to be developed as a smart city.
Under the smart city mission what are some of the developments where work has begun/is taking place?
Initially we were in the planning stage of the smart city, now we are into the implementing phase of the smart city.
And as you would imagine IT is going to play a paramount role in the smart city mission. One of our major projects is an IT solutions project. It’s a system integrator where all IT solutions are coupled into one project. The Phase 1 was inaugurated by the Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu which included the physical infrastructure of the city operations center.
Therefore IT solutions are being deployed for better e-governance. Some of the examples under this are deployment of smart poles, better traffic management, transportation information systems, surveillance etc. This is the largest project.
All the other projects are being undertaken under the area based development. Very soon projects under the area based development will be started. Tender has been completed for the redevelopment of the streets wherein preference has been given to non-motorized transport.
What stretch does the area based development cover?
The area based development starts right from Coastal Battery to Kurupam circle to Waltair Main Road. This entire patch comes under the area based development. Here we have also taken up the development of colony parks, school infrastructure among others. All of the GVMC high schools (27) have full-fledged digital labs for the benefit of students.
What initiatives has GVMC taken towards efficient lighting/energy?
Let me point out here that Vizag was the first city in India to be enabled with 100% led lights. This, I must mention, was even before the smart city work had begun.
Renewable energy has been a priority. For instance the solar roof top capacity of 1.8 MW has already been installed in the city while a tender has been floated for 2.5 mw of solar. Also 2 mw of floating power plant is under construction.
Is GVMC doing anything to promote non-motorized transport?
Yes we have closed a tender with the Hero group (cycles) and they have undertaken few surveys. Hopefully in the next 2-3 months you will see them launch their services.
Sir with peak summer, how is the Department dealing with the water issue?
First of all, let me clarify that there are no major issues. Secondly, I think it would be fair to say that we have reasonably gone through the peak summer, and thanks to our sustainable practices for ensuring timely repairs and availability of water, we have been able to go through this period without much difficulty.
Tender for tertiary waters has been floated for 46 mld of water to be treated and given to industries
We are in talks with big companies like RINL, NTPC, HPCL whereby they can use this tertiary treated water in place of regular water.
Sir, the online application seems to be quite a problem for the developers and builders. It is stated that making modifications and changes to an existing plan is not permitted and that the application gets revoked. Secondly, post verification isn’t taking place in the stipulated time frame.
See you have to understand that an online application system was, for the very first time, introduced in the state of AP in the city of Vizag. Around 7500 applications have been filed for building approvals since its launch couple of years ago. Today if you upload the application correctly you can get approval in 48 hours.
It’s one of the best systems developed. Plus, it has to be looked at from an ease of doing business point too. Today builders aren’t standing in a queue to get their approvals.
The government is very pro-active in getting issues resolved. The issue of applications being revoked has now been settled. Revisions of plans have now been allowed and are taking place. In regards to post verification 90% of the applications are processed in 15 days hence there is no problem in post verification process.
Yes initially there were issues but now regular monitoring is taking place.
Sir, even getting the Occupancy certificate is turning out to be a major problem.
We recently had a meeting with the builders’ association and a process has been put in place, so we have streamlined it. There will be gaps now and then however we at the department are making every effort in addressing those gaps.
Segregation of waste has been one of GVMC’s core implementation areas. How is that coming along?
As per the solid waste management rules 2016 it is mandatory that everybody segregates waste i.e. Wet waste, dry waste and hazardous at the source itself.
We at the Department have carried out various awareness programs for residents however for bulk waste generators i.e. more than 100kgs of waste per day we are very stringent and impose a fine if not segregated.
Even in apartments now we impose that apartments segregate waste if not we will not lift the waste.
Having said that Vizag still has a long way to go, India’s no 1 city in waste segregation is Indore which does more than 80-90% of waste segregation while Vizag is still hovering around 50-60% in segregation of waste.
Citizens also have to take responsibility GVMC alone cannot perform.
When it comes to source segregation, the responsibility lies with citizens and when it comes to processing, the onus lies on the corporation.
Sir, recently there was a mandate on Rain water harvesting facilities. Could you throw more light on that?
We basically have 80 bulkwater consumers and around 5000 plus semi bulk water consumers.
So we have served a notice to them making it mandatory for them to have a functional rain water harvesting structure. These people have time until June 30 to implement that. If you consume that much amount of water, it is also your responsibility that you save so much amount of water.
Also, we are working with residential working association (Resident’s Welfare Associations) and other self-help groups to create awareness in their respective colonies. In addition, any new building being built should have a rain water harvesting structure.
Sir, in order to make lifts more safe and secure, ARD (auto rescue device) needs to be installed in every Lift. This basically ensures that in case of power failure the lift goes up or down (to the nearest floor) for the safe evacuation of people.
It’s a good suggestion Mr Sabharwal, however I am not aware of this facility. We shall definitely look into it.
Sir, an issue I am sure you will be well aware of, is Parking, Multi Level Car Parking, Why don’t you call for tenders for parking?
Certain areas in the city have been identified for on street parking which shortly will be notified. We are in the process of implementing multi-level car parking in various locations in city, and VUDA is implementing the same.
There have also been complaints for lack of food quality inspection in the city. What is the GVMC doing in regard to that?
To be honest, we don’t have a direct responsibility of food and safety. There is a food safety department that takes care of this and they have food inspectors. Having said that, whenever we get a complaint, we do investigate.
Sir, I wonder if it is political influence or the inefficiency of your department to check illegal construction in the city.
To be very honest with you, in my two year stint here, I have had limited interference from the political set up and I have been able to do my work. We have tried to free the system by having this online application set up. Today no one has to run around GVMC officials to get any approvals with this online set up. With this, it leaves little if no room for any physical dealings with officials from GVMC. Simultaneously, we at the corporation keep a stern check on any illegal construction. So there is no abatement from GVMC in checking illegal construction.
Sir Your message to our readers.
Mr Sabharwal I Congratulate you and your team at Vizag Industrial Scan for entering 21st Year of Publication, Vizag Industrial Scan is a very useful and informative publication, keep up the Good Work.