Rourkela18/1/22:: Smart City Rourkela ranks among the Top 15 Cities of the world under the Bloomberg Global Mayors Challenge 2021. This makes the city eligible for a grant of USD 1 Million from Bloomberg Philanthropies and technical assistance to carry out the innovation over the next 3 years. Rourkela, one of the five Municipal Corporations and a leading industrial town of Odisha, is the only Indian city to make the honour.
Under Global Mayors Challenge, Rourkela has developed a sustainable model which augments the income of women and small-time traders of the city while promoting the use of technology. As part of the project, Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) has developed a cold storage facility at the local Veer Surendra Sai (VSS) Market in partnership with an NIT Rourkela-based startup and managed by Women self-help group members.
Rourkela’s produce entrepreneurs face a longstanding lack of storage facilities, limiting the shelf life of their goods. By providing women entrepreneurs access to cold-storage units, Rourkela is reducing food waste and prolonging the window for produce to be sold. This offers multiple benefits, such as women’s economic empowerment, food security, and mobility in a single initiative. Since most vendors are women, women’s federations across the city will manage the storage units.
With this solution, the local farmers and fruit traders have been able to enhance their income by preserving their produce and preventing any wastage. In addition, fresh vegetables and fruits are delivered to people’s doorsteps, especially in times of COVID19. All of this is being managed by members of women’s self-help groups using mobile apps. While developing the ecosystem and helping all the stakeholders, the model helps the women largely in augmenting their livelihoods.
Dr. Subhankar Mohaptra, Commissioner, Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) expressed his happiness after winning the challenge. He appreciated the role of team RMC, Technical Partner Koel Fresh, research students and alumnus of NIT Rourkela who has shown commendable effort in the last 6 months. “Through everyone’s contribution, Rourkela has clinched the Top 15 position in the world. The role of the women who manage the show is also worth celebrating. The prestigious Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge 2021 award will not only help us to take the innovation forward but also inspire all stakeholders”, shares Dr. Mohapatra
. Notably, 99 countries from around the world took part in the Global Mayors Challenge held in June 2021. At a critical time such as the COVID pandemic, the competition focused on proposals from 630 cities on economic recovery and overall growth, health and welfare, climate and environment, and good governance and equality. Of these, 50 cities, including Rourkela, were finalists among proposals for innovative and modern projects. The list also included the city of Pune in the first leg of the challenge. Currently, Rourkela is the only city from India to have made the cut among top 15 cities globally.