27 February 2020

Cover Story

Pune’s Smart Pedigree


Historically Pune always possessed the Smart DNA. By virtue of being capital of the Maratha Empire which ruled the entire Deccan at one time, to being dubbed as the Oxford of the East, Pune has done it all. Now in the 21st Century, the city is poised to perpetuate its Smart pedigree by emerging a trend setter in India’s Smart space……..predicts SATISH P CHAVAN.


A city which metamorphosed according to changing times, from the mid 1950s, Pune started building its industrial might. Indian auto majors Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto, and Indian global engineering giant Kalyani Group, all are intrinsically linked to the beginnings of Pune’s development as an industrial hub. Then came the Europeans, mainly Swedish and German companies in the manufacturing sector. Companies like Sandvik, Atlas Copco, Mercedes Benz, just to name a few, set up manufacturing facilities in and around Pune. All these incubated a vendor base supplying ancillaries and components for engineering goods industry. As Pune’s industrial might developed there was a concomitant creation of a manufacturing ecology based around Pune. Education was always Pune’s forte and major institutions in science and technology, such as National Chemical Laboratories, etc, developed research centers for R&D in science and technology. But most importantly Pune is also home to Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), which will play a major role in Pune’s Smart City movement. With the critical elements of skills, institutions, and manufacturing muscle in place, the next logical step was the Smart Pune mission. However, earlier attempts towards this transition had failed. Around 2006, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) launched a Citizen Facilitation Centre kiosk project, which failed to take off. In 2007, IT and Infotech giant Intel announced an ‘Unwire Pune’ which was supposed to make it a wireless city, which was short circuited due to several reasons. Pune was also first to implement a bus rapid transit system, in 2008, which failed due an unviable revenue-sharing model with the police department.


Now the fourth time around, amidst massive fanfare, Pune’s Smart City Mission was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2016, and the ball has been set rolling in right earnest. Projects launched then include; Slum Rehabilitation of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar Vasahat at Aundh, Steet and Pedestrian Walkway, Modern Buses with Alternative Fuels, Traffic Demand Modelling Project, City Common Mobility Card, etc. It is notable that Pune ranked second in the Smart City Challenge competition held last year. The city is now an established hub for industries such as automobiles and information technology, and clearly needs a well defined road map that will lessen its many woes with smart solutions. The most important initiative launched immediately was a dedicated special purpose vehicle SPV Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL), incorporated on 23rd March 2016. A 15 member Committee, the SPV is a 50:50 partnership between the state government and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Incorporation of the SPV has enabled Pune to receive Rs.200 crore in this financial year, out of a total assigned Rs.1,000 crore over a period of five years. The 15 member PSCDC will include six members from municipal corporation, four from the state government and one from the central government. There will be two independent directors at the central and state government levels. The current Pune Municipal Commissioner (PMC), Kunal Kumar is the Managing Director and chief of SPV, while the PMC CEO will be the Executive Director of PSCDC. The incorporation of the SPV has enabled Pune to receive Rs. 200 crore in this financial year, out of a total assigned Rs. 1,000 crore over a period of five years. In the first phase of its implementation, the expected investment in Pune Smart City is Rs. 3,000 crore. The plan focuses on improvement in transportation and water supply and the area based development of selected 900 acres in the Aundh-Baner-Balewadi belt.




A notable first for Pune is how it is going to tide over its funding problems, which is innovative. Pune sold India’s first municipal bond since 2007 for Smart Cities project. As of 20th June this year, Pune sold $ 31 million in 10-year bonds to tap investors for the first time in a decade to finance its smart projects. Although the total corpus is small, the issuance is a key first step in India’s plan to revive a municipal bond market that saw its last sale in 2007. The funds raised will help finance Smart Cities’ project involving modernising 100 cities by 2020, including by improving water supply and transportation.


PMC sold the debt at 7.59 per cent, raising Rs.2 billion ($31.04 million), according to SBI Capital Markets, the sole arranger. This compared well with around 7.40 per cent for a similar maturity bond from Maharashtra State. The proceeds will be used to provide uninterrupted municipal water supply in the city, up from 4-6 hours currently. Bondholders will be paid interest from money raised from property taxes. Although India is planning to spend up to Rs.48 billion rupees in its Smart Cities project, it needs cities such as Pune to raise up to 75 billion rupees from bond investors.


The PSCDC plans to raise a total of Rs.23 billion in the year to March. The bond issue, the book building process for which was concluded on the BSE recently, got subscriptions worth nearly Rs.1,200 crore. The coupon rate for the issue was set at 7.59 per cent for the 10-year paper, which was rated AA+ by rating agencies, which allowed PMC to raise money at a spread of less than 100 basis points over comparable government securities. “The investors were primarily big banks, insurance companies, mutual funds and pension funds. We will be raising about Rs.2,300 crore over a five-year period, so this was the first tranche. The second tranche could come up close to December or by March of next year,” PMC Commissioner Kunal Kumar told BloombergQuint.




Master Integrator L&T to build Smart Pune
Indian global conglomerate Larsen & Toubron, has been identified as the Implementation Partner to convert Pune into a Smart City. The LoI was handed over by Pune Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar to representatives of L&T Construction's Smart World & Communication Business Unit, which will be executing the project. The scope of work includes enabling Wi-Fi at around 200 strategic locations across Pune, establishing Emergency Call Boxes and Public Address Systems, Environmental Sensors, Variable Messaging Displays, Network Connectivity and Video analytics Integration. The project will set up a state-of-the-art Smart City Operation Centre SCOC) to integrate all its services and applications on a single platform with potential to accommodate all future needs through integration of various citizen centric applications. The project also includes a revenue monetization model, country's first in smart cities domain.
"After having set up the country's largest surveillance project in Mumbai involving 5,000 cameras across 1,500 locations and in the process of developing Nagpur into India's first large-scale integrated smart city, we consider this mandate to make Pune smart as a reaffirmation of our capabilities in the area of creating a smart world," said S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, L&T.
"As a Master Systems Integrator, we will use cutting edge technology to provide solutions capable of high end analytics on a futuristic and eminently scalable platform," he elaborated.
"After being selected as a top city under the smart cities mission, Pune Municipal Corporation has begun the journey towards building Pune as a next generation smart city," adds Kunal Kumar, Commissioner, PMC. "To provide an aspirational quality of life to citizens, Pune Smart City SPV is launching multiple projects including high speed Wi-Fi across more than 200+ zones at public buildings, bus-stops, hospitals, parks and key road stretches. For enhancing the safety and security for citizens, emergency call systems, public address systems and variable message displays will be deployed across the city. All the smart elements will be connected to one of the most advanced Smart City Operations Centre.
This will be a role model for the rest of the country to follow, in line with the best-in class examples in the world. To implement these solutions, Pune Smart City SPV after a rigorous selection process has selected L&T, an established leader in construction and building smart city Infrastructure," he informed.
L&T Smart World & Communication is a business unit offering end-to-end solutions comprising Security Solutions, Communication Network, Telecom Infrastructure, and Smart Infrastructure as a Master Systems Integrator in collaboration with other businesses within the L&T Group.




The most important of Pune’s smart implementation is the ‘Smart City Samvad’ Forum, which is a dialogue between the Administration and Pune citizens involving ideas and suggestion on making Pune Smart. The forum is created by MCCIA, CREDAI – Pune Metro and Pune University as a platform for Citizens, Government, Experts and all Stakeholder's participation in the mission to make Pune a Smart City. This generated suggestions ranging from Security and Surveillance, to leveraging appropriate technology for all Smart projects.


In the first phase of its implementation, the expected investment in Pune Smart City is Rs.3,000 crore. The plan focuses on improvement in transportation and water supply and the area based development of selected 900 acres in the Aundh-Baner-Balewadi belt. Major initiatives include;


Addressing Pune’s mobility challenge is critical since it came as most critical issue in both citizen engagement and desk profile. Increase in public transportation usage from 15per cent to 30 per cent by adding options of public transport (like metro, BRT) and enhancing current options (e.g. 3000 buses). Increase in trip share of Non Motorized Transport (NMT) to at least 30 per cent with bicycles and walking as preferred mode of transport. Both public transportation and NMT usage will help Punekars in improving mobility by increasing average speed from 18 kmph to 30 kmph.


Key Ideas include:

A - Smart Pune Public Transport System to improve availability, reliability and passenger comfort

  • Vehicle health monitoring system (VMS) across ~1080 buses with intelligent kits and back-end maintenance management system
  • Real-time tracking of 100per cent buses (VTS) by installing GPS and setting up a central control room, to monitor driving quality and service levels
  • CCTV surveillance and panic buttons on 510 buses to improve security
  • Public information system (PIS) comprising of bus guides and LED screens depicting ETA and other critical information across all 190 bus-stops and ~510 buses, along with mobile app and website providing real-time information
  • In-bus entertainment through Wi-Fi in 510 buses


B- ‘Smart Pune Traffic Management System’ to reduce congestion by installing Adaptive traffic signals across 295 signals with central command center, also equipped with ‘pedestrian buttons’ and PIS

  • Smart parking across 7 Multi-level-car-parks, with PIS and real-time mobile app
  • Private bus aggregators as rBus and Shuttl to provide premium bus options
  • Intelligent road asset management to improve road condition (using GIS)
  • Traffic mobile apps and online portal with live and forecasted traffic
  • Traffic analysis using CCTV feed and mobile GPS

Capitalising on Pune’s water abundance, one of key goals will be to ensure at least 150 lpcd of water to all citizens on 24x7 basis.

Reduction in leakage and NRW from 30 per cent to 15 per cent.

Increase in reservoir storage capacity from 23 per cent to 33 per cent.100 per cent of city covered by sewage network (compared to 91.3 per cent now).

100 per cent of waste water treated (up from 73 per cent), and use of recycled water by industries, railways and


Key ideas include:

A - ‘Smart Water’ solutions to ensure equitable 150 lpcd water to 100 per cent citizens on 24x7 basis along with best-in-class customer experience

  • Smart bulk metering at 8 WTP’s, 58 elevated reservoirs and 328 DMA’s across 6 zones with SCADA, followed by water audit across 2500 km pipeline
  • Helium leak identification system to reduce internal water leakage drastically
  • 100per cent smart metering across 42,650 commercial connections
  • Smart meters for domestic consumption along with revised telescoping tariffs through “give-up-water subsidy” campaign to accept smart metering and revised telescoping tariffs
  • 24x7 water supply to the city through 5 pilot DMA’s which includes 2000 domestic, 300 commercial and 2000 slum connections
  • Comprehensive GIS-based customer survey to increase the number of recorded connections from 150,000 to 400,000
  • Develop a suite of web, app and call-centre based solutions to address 37,000 grievances annually
  • Setup an ICT enabled separate billing and recovery department for water with world class customer service and improved collections




About 300 companies from 35 different countries are keen on participating in Pune Smart City projects. They will provide solutions for traffic and garbage management, water supply, sanitation and drainage. The companies along with consulates of various countries participated in a two-day exhibition-cum-seminar, on Smart Cities organised by PMC, which has signed MoUs with some of these firms. Sweden is keen on partnering with India in its smart cities development initiative and suggested a common plan of action for utilising its expertise and technology in promoting sustainable and eco-friendly public transport solutions. Pune is one of the smart cities selected by the Union government as part of its Smart City Mission. A press statement issued by the Union Urban Development Department has stated that Sweden's Minister of European Union Affairs and Trade – Ann Linde, recently met Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and held detailed discussions on possible areas of cooperation. Sweden and India had signed an MoU in 2015 to promote sustainable urban development and Smart City Mission. China has also shown interest in developing Smart Pune and will be investing $ 2.5 billion in the city's security solutions and services.



It is exactly a year since PM Modi flagged off Pune’s ‘Smart City Mission,’ and a lot of water has flowed under the Maratha Bridge since then. Pune has a lot to show in terms of progress made in its Smart Mission. It will be India’s first city to go Wi-Fi, and will have a Smart City Operation Center. But most important is setting up the, Pune Idea Factory Foundation (PIFF), to roll out Smart Ideas. Pune has the highest rate of literacy – of 91 per cent – among urban agglomerations in India. Its citizens have a rich cultural heritage and a smart pedigree which is conducive to fostering a Smart culture. After spawning an international industrial hub end of last century, Pune is all set to don its new avatar, as India’s Smartest City in the 21st Century.

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