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Need for Safer Cities Before Smarter Cities


‘No Man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one, or love the other or else he will hold the one, and despise the other’. It holds for the Government too, as it does for the proles of the country. While focusing to develop the country by making it smarter, has the government forgotten to make it safe? How vain it is to develop a half when the other half of the country is going to witness horrendous disaster again? These lead us to think ‘Is getting smarter is more important than getting safer?’

Making The Cities Smarter

Recently the government has planned to incentivize the states for completing the ‘Smart city Projects’ faster and thereby raising competition among the states. 90 cities which include Jaipur, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Bhopal, were selected under the scheme and the government of India has approved projects worth Rs. 1.91 lakh crore already.

Indeed there is an ineffable need of smarter cities and people of the country, as the nation is competing with others in a race of getting into the developed clan but it is imperative to become safer before becoming smarter.

Is The Country Safe?

After Four and a half years of 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape, still, women in the country’s capital feel unsafe to walk in the streets during the night. Megha Dixit, a Masters student of Communication Systems and Circuits tweets her experience of Delhi metro saying, ‘Hey ladies, you’re not safe at ALL in a metro or metro stations’. This is one among the many unheard incidents taking place every day.

A Few months ago, 34 passengers were killed and over 60 injured during the Vizianagaram train derailment. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) suspects Maoists involvement in the incident and an FIR has been registered in this regard. The Railway officials suspect the reason to be the tampering of rails near Kuneru station causing the accident.

Chennai has been rated the safest city in the country according to a survey on Quality of Living rankings made by Mercer. But every Year the state is witnessing horrendous disasters where the common people have to suffer. As per Tamil Nadu Land Use Research Board and IIT Madras report, the state could witness a rise of 4.35 to 6.85 meters in the sea level for next few decades and is, therefore, prone to storms similar to the ones of 2015 and 2016 for the period.

Choosing To Be Safer or Smarter?

In April, a car and an MTC bus plunged into a large crater during an ethereal road collapse on Anna Salai near Gemini flyover. Everybody who witnessed the event stood in disbelief of what had happened. Investigators accused the underground tunneling of the road for Chennai Metro as the reason, due to which the soil packing got loose.

Tiruchirapalli also called Tiruchi is an ancient city in Tamil Nadu whose lands are nourished by two rivers on both sides; Kollidam and Kaveri forming an island structure, faced intense water scarcity. The people accuse the land quarrying and delayed rainfall as the cause for the case. The Land quarrying left the river beds depressed to few meters. It took more time for the water to fill up the depressions on the river bed before the people could get it.

What Is The Solution?

The resilience of a state is invariably dependent on how well it has been planned and built. The Government should focus its plans towards building the untouched or danger prone cities of the country well and safe before making transportation easier of well-developed cities.

People believe cultural events in cities and public movements will reduce the crimes related to women. All of these recent incidents prove that the country has to make plans to build the cities safer and then smarter, leaving an odor of development.

Here the two roads diverge again, and the government needs to chose one, to be safe before being smart or the other way around.The question is, ‘Once the golden and now the youngest bird of the world will move forward but, smarter or safer?’

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