Source: Times of India, June 8, 2012
BHOPAL: More than two and a half decades after the world's largest industrial catastrophe hit the state capital, Madhya Pradesh government has set in motion a process to develop Bhopal as a "Global Environment City". The project envisages protection of city's eco-systems and initiating a series of steps to improve environment in the next five years.
Sam Pitroda, advisor to Prime Minister and national innovation council chairman, had a series of meetings with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and top officials where he discussed various projects to be implemented in Madhya Pradesh. The projects include developing the temple town of Ujjain as a 'Knowledge city', setting up of centre for innovation, national optical fibre network, and e-courts and courts of tomorrow.
Referring to the Bhopal Gas disaster, Pitroda said, "We have to leave behind the past. The 28-year old disaster is still hanging here. We have to move forward". Pointing out that he would like to be associated with the project, he said "We can get the best minds in the world to develop Bhopal as a Global environment city. It will excite the global community who will surely come forward to join the initiative. I have suggested to the state government to fix a target to get the project completed in the next five years".
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the state government had already prepared a blue-print for developing the state capital as global environment city. "The entire world knows Bhopal for the gas disaster. We want to make Bhopal a model environment city", he added.
Throwing light on the other projects, Pitroda said he also suggested to the state to expedite its proposal to develop Ujjain as a 'knowledge city' so as to complete the project within a span of five years, instead of the initial proposal of 30 years. The state government is already in the process of setting up the knowledge city in an area of Rs 450 hectares at an estimated cost of Rs 3500 crores.
Referring to the e-courts and courts of tomorrow-a project aimed at using information technology for early disposal of pending cases, monitoring and all other aspects of courts functioning-Pitroda said there was no dearth of funds for implementing the project. "A similar project is already on in Delhi high court and we can implement it in Madhya Pradesh too to improve the functioning of courts", he added.
About the National Optical fibre network, Pitroda said this project would bring revolutionary changes in the e-governance as the entire 23,000 village panchayats were to be connected with broadband by the year 2013-14. which would help extending e-services even up to the village level. He also welcomed the proposal to establish a centre for innovation.
Pointing out that internet and web can help bring change in education, Pitroda said quality of education in India was certainly a major challenge and technology could help address issues pertaining to expansion, excellence and equity under which poor could get best of facilities.