OdishaPlus Bureau

• Rourkela only Indian city in the prestigious list
• Rourkela among top 15 Cities from across the world declared finalists
• Innovation to enhance women & farmers’ livelihood

Smartcity 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 a NIT Rourkela based startup and managed by Women self help group members.

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 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 have 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.

“I congratulate Team RMC and all the stakeholders for this global recognition. With its uniqueness, the project immensely helps women SHGs, small vegetable and fruit vendors of Rourkela while delivering a smart service at the doorstep of the people. Moreover, this sustainable idea also promotes technology and aims to adopt eco friendly energy which are the key goals for the future generation”, says Nikhil Pavan Kalyan, Collector & DM Sundargarh while addressing the press.

“We are very much hopeful that such solution would be scaled up in various parts of India and Rourkela city would act as a role model for many other cities. We, thank the entire team from Bloomberg philanthropies for giving us such a wonderful platform to showcase our city’s potential”, says RMC Commissioner Dr. Subhankar Mohapatra, on the occasion.

“As the world works to address the profound public health and economic effects of the ongoing pandemic, cities can implement innovative ideas at a pace that national governments simply can’t match,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. and 108th Mayor of New York City. Our fifteen winners offer bold, achievable plans to improve health, reduce unemployment, empower women, and more. Collectively, they have the potential to improve millions of their residents’ lives – and the most successful solutions will inspire cities around the world to embrace them.”

“The Mayors Challenge always pushes mayors to take big ideas and bring them to life and was vitally important as we emerged from the worst year of the pandemic” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Now these cities will pivot to the hard work ahead to implement these projects and collect lessons learned to help other cities adopt and spread their ideas.

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.