Making of a smart city-Karnal

By- JK Bhutani

KARNAL SMART CITY shall be as much a ‘glorious heritage city’ of Daanvir Karna of Mahabharata as it would be, of modern aspirations of youth matching the starry heights of Kalpana Chawla.

The ‘SMART cities’ governed and run by the touch of a touch-screen, are envisioned not only as the face of the development, modernisation and rising economic power of India, but also a mean of fulfilling the aspirations of citizens with the use of information technology and smart solutions in providing clean sustainable environment, inclusive development and rich vibrant urban life.
Besides the provisioning of the potable water, 24×7 power, holistic health, education, skill development, efficient mobility, security and good e-governance with robust IT and connectivity, such cities can emerge as tourism hubs and economic growth clusters.

The SMART makeover essentially consists of rejuvenating the existing developed area (Retrofitting and Re-development), developing the new vacant area (Green field development) and providing smart solutions to exiting built up areas (Pan-city development), thus fulfilling the needs of the maximum  population. The city of Karnal offers opportunities for all these models of smart transformation.


Core Area specific Problems and solutions

  1. The old walled city and surroundings can be developed with heritage and historic rich tourism options (Retrofitting and Redevelopment). The gated walled city designed as a fortress with many gates (Karan , Dyalpura, Jundla, Banso, Kalandari and Mira ghati), along with ‘Karan Taal, Sadar Bazaar, Railway Station’ and ‘The Mall Road’ area can be fitted with connectivity basics, smart power-water-sanitation solutions and other infra structure to develop it as a heritage part of the city in the Mahabharata-Gita belt. The institutional areas of NDRI, CSSRI, NBAGR and DWR can be developed as skill area development centers for the agro-dairy-horticulture industry for rural youth and a futuristic resource for the nation.


  1. The new vacant areas in adjoining villages, medical university area and the relatively new urban sectors (HUDA) and Model Town area can be turned into the ‘model’ of best urban living practices, The new urban estate sectors, the industrial townships and proposed medical university areas can be developed with core basic wire-free power, fibre-optics, embedded systems. sensors and other technology pre-requisites along with renewable energy, water harvesting, and sustainable environment clusters (Green field development)


  1. The whole city, many of the unauthorised colonies (Hansi Road area, Vasant Vihar, Mangal Pur, Rajiv Puram) , nearby villages and ‘post-habitation’ approved colonies must have access to basic needs of water, power, connectivity, urban transport, security, education, health, skill development areas and above all access to e-governance and other common services (Pan-city Development).


Core City problems and Smart Solutions

The fibre-optic networks, a variety of smart sensors and Wi-fi connectivity is fundamental for the smart solutions to city problems and e-governance. The ever increasing need of power, water and quality health and education needs urgent adoption of renewable energy models (Solar and Waste generated), smart electric grid/meters, and recycling of solid wastes/water treatment. The problems of sewerage, rain water drainage, unauthorized colonies and emerging villages need smart solutions.

The old walled city areas (Retrofitting and Redevelopment) offer a unique challenge for providing the fibre-optic network which can be addressed with Wi-Fi networks and hot-spots. The power and water resource pilferage, wastage and optimal use can be achieved with smart grid, metering, sensors and solar energy use. The transport, mobility and parking problems can be addressed with public utilities and ‘outside-the-walled-city’ common parking. The heritage tourism can be boosted by keeping it ethnic, car-free pedestrian/e-rickshaw area  with local food/dialect and other cultural smart shows.

In the case of (Redevelopment and Green Field ) Model the new areas of urban estates, Model Town and Medical university can have solar energy clusters, solid waste treatment areas, and water harvesting smart solutions. The architectural planning of the new area must include wire-free cabling, sensors, actuators, air-quality, motions sensors and security solutions. The city drainage problem has increased after the ‘Mughal Canal’ closure as it provided the natural drain for the old city. The Model-Town area had ‘Cho-drainage’ with many ‘rain-water’ harvesting ponds which can be re-energised with smart solutions.

The ‘Pan-city development’ model can address the common problems of drainage, smart transport, e-surveillance, interactive policing, sensor activated video-surveillance (especially for vulnerable old, children and women groups), online education resource, electronic medical records, telemedicine/video conferencing and uniform ‘state-of-the-art’ health care. The skill development area, e-library and common web-resource areas with the participation of the young citizens in the learning/developing applications in the IoT (Internet of Things), smart apps and the solutions should be encouraged. Making common resource of intelligent ideas, e-library, renewable energy parks, charging areas and kid study/play areas can be a useful asset for learning and sharing for all.

Global/Best practices for Karnal

The ‘Smart Cities’ of the world (New-York, Barcelona, Singapore, Amsterdam, and Dubai) have practiced a variety of smart solutions for efficient transport, parking, solar-smart-electric-grid, crime deterrent video-surveillance and environment-weather coping and enhancements. Karnal offers unique opportunities because of the mixed peace-loving population, fertile land, adequate water and sunshine resource along with the basic infrastructure of power, internet and communication networks. The city of Amsterdam can be a model for Karnal as it has emerged as ‘heritage-education-industrial’ hub with modern amenities.

The smart cities are not built on the edifice of architectural engineering, structure, and material only, but on the co-operation, participation, brotherhood and prosperity of all sections of society. The reach out of the e-governance, policing and public health to each household and citizen is not a utopia anymore, but an attainable goal for us all.

How I will contribute as a Smart-Citizen?

I am a professional medical doctor who has grown with Karnal. The experience of premier institute of PGI, life at Chandigarh and the travels abroad has sown ‘high aspirations and smart solutions’ in us all. I am well versed in the application of technology aided EMR, health delivery and online education portals. My experience in the IT, networks planning and the integration of it with the human resource can be used if required.