Bhubaneswar,02/10(Odisha Samachar / Abhisek Mohanty )- Humara Bachapan Campaign (HBC) supported by Bernard van Leer Foundation (BVLF) and in partnership with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) organised Bhubaneswar Smart City Youth and Children Consultation here at the dotted venue of IDCOL auditorium in Bhubaneswar.
Bhubaneswar has been shortlisted in the first round for the Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India and is competing to be in the list of first 20 cities to be selected for implementing the Smart Cities Mission. Bhubaneswar has plans to become the first child and family friendly smart city in the nation. Bhubaneswar, to become a smart child and family friendly city, has to take into an account the needs and aspirations of its citizens especially children and youth.
Therefore, to ensure maximum citizen participation, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has started ‘Citizen Connect Initiative’ which entails a series of dialogues, polling, and consultations with various stakeholders. Humara Bachpan Campaign the lead partner to represent the voices of Children and Youth in the city. During the occasion a panel discussion was under taken with children as panellists sharing their opinions on how the urban planning should be child friendly. They shared their views on how improved transportation facilities, waste management, healthcare system can contribute towards making a city smart. They also spoke on how attitudes and behaviours of the citizen should also change. The child participants also showcased their vision of Smart child friendly cities through drama. The children had designed clay models depicting their dream city which was exhibited along with the paintings.
“The responsibility of making a city smart not only lies with the government but also with its citizens. Therefore, the citizens should also change their behaviours and attitudes towards things like littering on road, spitting and obeying traffic rules. These same people behave differently in another country by obeying all rules but not in their own! We should be the change we wish to see in the world”, stated Usha Rani Patra one of the child panellists.
“It is highly appreciable that for the first time government policies are speaking about child friendly components. It makes me happy that playgrounds and parks will be developed including child friendly components but at the same time it makes me wonder that is a smart city only limited to play spaces?”, remarked Panellist Jasmin Nissa.
“The way our streets are designed sends a very strong and clear message that automobiles, and not children, are the things we value most! An effective transport system which is accessible by all its citizens, be it children or adults, is one that defines a smart child friendly city, quoted another panellist Rupak Gouda speaking on transportation.
The event was graced by eminent dignitaries which included G. Mathivathanan, Commissioner and Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Vice Chairman, BDA and Municipal Commissioner, BMC Dr. Krishan Kumar, IAS, R. P Singh, Director Social Welfare, Vishal Dev, Principal cum Secretary Women and Child Development, Subhranshu Samal, Additional Commissioner and Dharitri Patnaik, India Representative of Bernard van Leer Foundation. The guests felicitated winners of the painting competition and inaugurated the Clay Model and Painting exhibition at the dotted venue. The programme coordinated by Preetipada Panigrahi and Sradhanjali Sahoo and others.
Notably, HBC is a National campaign working on safe and healthy environment for young children living in urban poverty in India. The aims of the campaign are to promote ‘child friendly components’ in the urban renewal policies of the Government of India.