Kargil and Leh to be developed into Smart Cities

Leh and Kargil are to be equipped with smart technology to improve street lighting, water resource management and garbage collection

November 28, 2020

The initiative is to be monitored by a centralised command facility based in Leh.

Renewable energy resources, Traffic management and the restoration of heritage sites are other priorities.

Local infrastructure in Leh and Kargil is vulnerable to natural calamities including flash floods and torrential rainfall.

Activity in alluvial river beds also pose a challenge to the development of urban facilities.

The cities of Leh and Kargil are to be developed into Smart Cities under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. In line with the expectations of local citizens, the projects are to factor in an aspect of disaster management and resilience to climate change. Technological resources are to be used in improving the existing public infrastructure spanning street lighting, garbage collection, segregation and disposal and the treatment of wastewater resources among other focus areas. A centralised command and control facility based in Leh will monitor the progress on all municipal activities that are to be undertaken. The project will also see the development of renewable energy resources, traffic and pollution management as well as the beautification of heritage sites. 

The State infrastructure in the northernmost Union Territories are often vulnerable to natural calamities including flash floods and torrential rainfall. Experts observe that construction activity in alluvial riverbeds have further posed challenges in improving infrastructure. 2013 saw the development of a water management programme taken up as a joint venture between the Central Government and the State Government. The programme contributed towards the enhancement of the sewerage management functions in the city of Leh. However, there is greater scope to improve the quality of public infrastructure in Leh and Kargil. 

The Smart Cities Mission in India is one that focuses on the development of several regions into automated centres of efficiency and growth. The Mission is grounded in the need for realistic, inclusive and sustainable development spread across: (i) pan-city developments, (ii) Area-based developments and (iii) Greenfield developments. Given the extensive investments required for greenfield development, experts observe that these initiatives are taken up in lesser frequency. Technologies including pattern recognition in AI and Big data are instrumental in rendering Smart Cities efficient. With the proliferation of Smart technologies and PropTech solutions, public spaces and infrastructure can be galvanised into centres of growth and economic development.