It was out-of-the-box thinking that led the leadership at the Varanasi Smart City to combat and mitigate the impact of Covid 19. Apart from setting up a dedicated helpline, the city created a GIS-based dashboard to assign patients to hospitals. All major L3 hospitals were brought under CCTV surveillance on a real-time basis. 415 CCTV cameras monitored the entire city – violations, unlawful assembly, containment zones and social distancing violations. It was critical as during this time, more than 2.5 lakh migrants passed through Varanasi. The city achieved a 92% redressal rate of all grievances daily. All the quarantine centers, shelter homes and hotels were brought on the dashboard. For the homeless, community kitchens were set up at 3 different locations. The un-lockdown management through the Safe Kashi App benefitted 47,000 vendors.
L to R: Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, SKOCH Group; Dr. D. Vasudevan, Chief General Manager, Varanasi Smart City
The Kashi Integrated Control and Command Centre (KICCC) worked as the Integrated War Room for Varanasi during the pandemic. 24×7 monitoring by surveillance camera was done. Essentials were delivered by the vendors and a complete GIS mapping was done. It redressed over 9,000 grievances each month during the pandemic. It led to smooth coordination amongst all wings of the administration.
In four years, the Varanasi Nagar Nigam has managed to rope in communities and made them equal stakeholders in keeping their city clean. It has changed their old littering habits. The Nigam has centralised the system of waste collection, transport, and processing via ICT based system. Disposal in dustbins, mechanised sweeping, segregated door-to-door collection and transportation; and, conversion of waste to compost – all are tracked and monitored on a dashboard. It is now engaging Agriculture Department to propagate the usage of compost.