Varanasi upgrades city administration with GIS technology

Built to manage the heritage city’s traffic, waste, and lighting, the smart city control center played an unexpected role in battling the COVID pandemic.

varanasi smart city iccc
Varanasi Smart City

One of the 100 cities selected for the smart city project by the Indian government is Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India. This densely populated holy city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh attracts thousands of pilgrims every day. Blending technology into this historical city wasn’t easy, says D. Vasudevan, general manager at Varanasi Smart City Ltd. (VSCL).

The government of India has given a mandate to 100 cities to build an integrated command and control center (ICCC), a platform that will act as a decision support system for the city administration to respond to real-time events by consuming data feeds from different sources and processing information out of the data sets. The authorities are free to choose the factors most relevant to their respective cities for monitoring.

D. Vasudevan, General Manager at Varanasi Smart City Varanasi Smart City

“Blending technology into this historical city wasn’t easy.”

— D. Vasudevan, general manager at Varanasi Smart City

Stakeholders in Varanasi’s smart city project include the municipal corporation, its public works department (PWD), city police, traffic police, state magistrate, a shopkeepers’ association, resident welfare associations, and political representatives.

“The stakeholders came together to express the bottleneck they face, and this helped in identifying the problems,” says Vasudevan. The list was then narrowed down to four major problems that needed addressing immediately: solid waste management, environmental monitoring, traffic management, and integration with smart streetlights.

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