Over the rest of this year, as many as 100 city students from diverse disciplines — split into eight groups — will be burning the midnight oil to prove their mettle, turning innovative ideas into reality to solve burning issues like garbage, traffic and more — with a ‘smart’ touch.
Providing them with this platform is Common Purpose, an initiative that provides leadership development programmes to university students to solve common issues in society, under the banner of ‘Frontrunner’ at the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP). The youths were entrusted with observing various sections of society and issues in the current system, to address these in the form of creative solutions and make Pune a ‘smart city’.
Farhad Merchant, chief executive at Common Purpose India, explained, “The students first met various stakeholders and officials from the government, civic authorities, private sectors, NGOs and more, to understand a variety of problems.” They visited 14 entities (including civic bodies, transport authorities and more) to zero in on issues. Merchant added, “We then split them up into groups and asked them to brainstorm on ideas to resolve these issues. The groups came up with some interesting ideas to address garbage management, traffic management, education for the underprivileged and lots more.”
Each group was also given a mentor, to help crystallise the idea into coherent form and fine-tune it. On Tuesday, the groups presented their ideas to panelists from the corporate world and town planning sector (in pic) who provided inputs on the projects’ execution and discussed their feasibility and sustainability.
Now, said Merchant, each group will create a revenue model and look for agencies to sponsor it.
CASH OUT OF WASTE
To resolve excess dry, wet and e-waste, this group has a ‘Cash out of Waste’ project. Siddhesh Dhauskar, a group member, said, “We will collaborate with firms that treat all three kinds of waste. Garbage will be collected from housing societies and given to them — money from it will be given back to residents.”
ROUTE OF THE MATTER
This group found it difficult for commuters, especially those new to the city, to comprehend complicated bus routes, so it suggested colour-coded maps be put up for each route; in the next phase, buses and bus stops will also be linked through GPS, for waiting passengers to track bus locations. Member Animesh Das said, “We will ask some firms to adopt buses for their maintenance. In return, companies can put up advertisements on them.”
Taking the rent-a-cycle concept to another level, this group proposed a creative intra-college transport system — ‘Cycology’ — in which cycles would be kept at colleges like Fergusson, Modern and CoEP, for students to rent and use around campus, to be returned before going home. “We are in talks with bicycle manufacturing firms to avail of their corporate social responsibility initiatives,” a member said.
NO MORE SLUMMING IT
This group chose to focus on education for children from economically weaker sections, speaking to engineering institutes where kids could be given formal as well as skill-based education. The group has also done GIS mapping of slums to identify core areas for its project.
TEACH THEM LESS RUBBISH
Education and waste management come together in this project, with group members planning to go to schools to give students training on waste management and segregation. Apoorva Algudkar, a group member, said, “Schools are the target now, but it could be extended to colleges later.”
THE WORM TURNS HERE
The attention of this group’s members is focused on a niche issue — vermiculture projects in housing societies, often set up by builders to get completion certificates and totally neglected later. The group aims to form an NGO to go door-to-door and help societies manage these projects efficiently. Resultant manure will be sold to farmers, earning the societies some extra money.
The promotion of the smart city concept and helping people understand it was the main focus of this group. Members plan to create a platform for people from various areas to come together and spruce up local spaces like walls with creative artwork. Various social networks media would be used for this.
BIN THERE, DONE THAT
Here, the idea was to motivate people to put the garbage into bins, not everywhere else. The group proposed a system under which smart cards would be given out. After putting garbage into a smart bin and swiping the card, each person would be privy to points. Member Swapnil Labade said that they have decided to start the project at a BRTS route in Pimpri-Chinchwad, with publicity given to whoever garners the most points on the card. Discounts on bus tickets will also be given to people with points to redeem, to heighten interest in the venture.
Source: Punemirror, 18’March