Capacity Building under AMRUT: Madhya Pradesh City Leaders Visit Gujarat to Study Urban Development
February 1, 2017: Empanelled as a national training institution for town planning by the Ministry of Urban Development since March 2016, WRI India has been leading capacity building initiatives under the purview of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. To this end, a series of exposure visits and residential workshops are currently being conducted in the two states, to introduce the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to best practices in sustainable development.
As a part of this initiative, more than 20 municipal representatives from 15 cities of Madhya Pradesh covered by AMRUT, undertook an exposure visit to Gujarat to understand the state’s sustainable urban development initiatives in January. Among the participants were councillors, Mayor-in-Council members and other elected representatives from cities including Ujjain, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Chhindwara, Pithampur and Datia.
WRI India guided the visiting participants to study various paradigms of urban planning and transport in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, Gujarat, with support from the Directorate of Urban Administration and Development, Madhya Pradesh.
The visits led to discussions around:
Clean and green mobility: A visit to the Janmarg Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, its control centre and a bus maintenance workshop in Ahmedabad, and the GBike Public Bike Sharing (PBS) system, its renting station and cycling corridor in Gandhinagar, studied the value of a well-structured public transport and non-motorized transport in cities.
Restoration of water bodies and green spaces: Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Riverfront Development Scheme and Kankaria Lake showcased the potential of restoration and beautification of urban water bodies. The visit to Gandhinagar’s Swarnim Park included discussions on sound designing for open spaces.
Conserving heritage cities: A heritage walk through the old city of Ahmedabad sought to better understand the role of municipal agencies in conserving and restoring the traditional fabric of Indian cities.
Inclusive and accessible roads: A guided walk along Gandhinagar’s Central Vista studied inclusive and accessible road designs in urban areas.
The visits were followed by interactive sensitization sessions by experts from WRI India, where the role of leaders in the development of cities was discussed. Questions and concerns about AMRUT, its provisions, and its use for achieving transformative urban changes were also answered. Technical lectures introduced participants to the basics of designing, appraising and implementing urban planning and transport projects.
The hands-on, expert- and peer-driven training enabled the participants to explore new sustainable development ideas for their cities by involving stakeholders and partners and initiating knowledge sharing. A councillor from Shivpuri was inspired by the Ahmedabad heritage walk and said he is keen to take back his learnings about heritage conservation. Councillors from Chhindwara and Pithampur were enthused by the idea of upgrading recreational spaces and building open-air gyms similar to the one they saw in Swarnim Park. An MIC member from Ujjain wished to upgrade bus services and infrastructure for encouraging sustainable mobility in his city.
As a next step, WRI India will continue engaging with the trained representatives and support them in their work towards implementing sustainable development practices in their cities.