The Telegraph
Thursday , August 7 , 2014
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IIT techies debate PM’s smart cities idea
- Supporters say it’s a must for India, challengers ask where is the land

During the elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to develop 100 smart cities in India. On Wednesday, budding IIT-Patna techies could not conclude if it will help.

The future technocrats participated in a heated and healthy discussion on “Will the creation of smart cities improve the human way of life?”

This was part of a series of programmes organised by IIT as part of its sixth foundation day. Two teams, comprising of teachers and students debated the smart topic. Mayank Tiwari, a faculty in the mechanical engineering department, led team A of which the other members were Ojas Mangawdekar, a third-year computer science student, and Raghav Rastogi, a third-year electrical engineering student. P Chakraborty, a faculty in the civil engineering department, led Team B of which the other members were J. Gautam and Devanshu Ganatra, both third year mechanical engineering students.

Speaking for the motion, Team A members pointed out that smart cities are a must for a country like India which is moving ahead in urbanisation. Ojas said: “By 2030, the country’s urban population will touch 59 crore from 34 crore now. In such a scenario, every state would require smart cities.” His teammate, Raghav, said information communication technology (ICT) would be a must in smart cities and such a setting would be ideal to create ways for smart education, smart healthcare facilities and smart governance.

Speaking against the motion, Team B members said smart cities would end up like any metropolitan city with overcrowded streets. P Chakraborty said land acquisition would prove a stumbling block towards setting up such cities in a state like Bihar. They also said smart cities would have glamour on the surface but residents would have no social life. The verdict at the end of the day — maybe the prime minister would like to take note — was a tie.

University vice-chancellor and governor Y.C. Simhadri, chief guest at the function, said the future of India depends on engineers. He turned nostalgic to say it was his dream to study at one of the IITs but he missed the bus because his teachers in Class XII advised him not to take up mathematics.

Other programmes on the day included a blood donation camp. Orthopaedic R.N. Singh spoke on osteoarthritis. In the evening, students participated in classical dance, solo song and duet song programmes.