Earlier this autumn, an Indian delegation of city officials and smart city experts visited the Nordic countries to learn more about Nordic smart city solutions and find new ways to collaborate.
We caught up with Mr. Swayandipta Pal Chaudhuri and Mr. Sidharth Kuncalienker from the city of Panaji in Goa while visiting Stavanger and the Nordic Edge Smart City Expo to hear more about their thoughts on India-Nordic collaboration on sustainable urban solutions.
“I think there is a lot to share between India and the Nordics in terms of knowledge”, says Mr. Swayandipta Pal Chaudhuri.
Mr. Chaudhuri and Mr. Kuncalienker both represent the city of Panaji in Goa, which is one of 100 cities included in India’s Smart Cities Mission – a federally funded and managed program by the government in India.
“We were fortunate enough to be included in the second tier of the mission back in 2016. That proved to be a chance to reflect upon where we lag behind”, explains Mr. Kuncalienker.
The government of Goa then went on to form Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd., a company that is running Panaji’s smart city projects, where Mr. Chaudhuri is Managing Director and CEO, and Mr. Kuncalienker is Director.
“Panaji is a coastal city so there are a lot of similarities with Nordic cities. We just spoke to the CEO of Stavanger Smart Cities and it was very heartening to see that urban challenges are quite alike irrespective of the part of the world you are”, continues Mr. Kuncalienker, highlighting issues with citizen engagement and public consultation as common challenges between the two cities.
Mr. Chaudhuri also mentions flood control, mobility solutions and electric vehicles as areas with great potential for collaboration.
Inspiration for collaboration
The study tour was organised through the Nordic Sustainable Solutions in India project, which is a part of Nordic Sustainable Cities. The project is creating a platform where Nordic companies, governmental bodies, research institutes and various organisations in India and the Nordics can work together on sustainable urban solutions. The project has a special focus on the cities Ghaziabad and Panaji and the village of Shishani in Uttar Pradesh.
I think there is a lot to share between India and the Nordics.Mr. Swayandipta Pal Chaudhuri, Managing Director, Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd
The Indian delegation visited all the Nordic countries, meeting a wide variety of different stakeholders in the Nordics.
For Mr. Chaudhuri and Mr. Kuncalienker, the tour proved to provide valuable contacts and give inspiration for further collaboration.
“I think Nordic emission levels are very strong and Goa can definitely take that as a learning lesson. And it should be a collaborative effort. We are more than happy to share our knowledge and Nordic decision and policy makers are invited to Goa – we are eager to host them!”, says Mr. Kuncalienker.
“We are taking back a lot of lessons from this tour, especially in the terms of technology that we can adopt and identified areas of collaborations. It has been very fruitful, and I think there is a lot to share between our nation and the Nordics”, says Mr. Chaudhuri before the two have to run along for another meeting to discuss how India and the Nordics can collaborate to make our cities more smart, sustainable and liveable.