The Air Quality Management System (AQMS) was inaugurated by Ms. Marylaure Crettaz, Head, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), India and Mr. Asok Bhattacharya, Mayor of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC), on the 29th of January, 2018, in Siliguri. The event was attended by Dr. Shirish Sinha, the Deputy head of SDC in India, CapaCITIES team members and the staff of the SMC. Four measurement devices have been placed across the city along with a display screen at the SMC head office.
Mr. Sonam Bhutia, Commissioner of the SMC, welcomed everyone and thanked the team for including the city of Siliguri under CapaCITIES. Mr. Asok Bhattacharya, provided an introduction to the city calling it an economic hub of North East India and the second most import city in West Bengal after Kolkata. In Siliguri, the vehicular growth trumps population growth leading to traffic issues. He requested for help in strengthening the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and improvement in infrastructure relating to Solid Waste Management (SWM) and mobility (Light Rail Transit system).
Ms. Marylaure Crettaz, while addressing the gathering, emphasized the need to join forces to solve the issues relating to water, waste, buildings and transport. The SDC is trying to support different dimensions of climate change. She also spoke about the friendship between Switzerland and India, with events planned throughout this year as to marks the 70 years of friendship between the two countries. Dr. Shirish Sinha elaborated on the CapaCITIES project and structure and how the project was enabling the city achieve its long-term goals.
Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director of ICLEI South Asia thanked the SMC & the SDC for their cooperation and support. He commended the politicians’ commitment which has helped the project advance to this stage. Mr. Dilip Singh, Chairman of the SMC, spoke on the potential of the city and of the SMC being a very capable corporation. Mr. Shankar Ghosh from the SMC commended ICLEI South Asia for the support provided to the city and said that they were impressed with the way the project has progressed. The SMC is looking for implementable projects rather than the preparation of DPRs.
Mr. Alexander Luchinger from the CapaCITIES IA thanked everyone for their cooperation and provided a brief overview about the experts involved in the project. Later, a discussion took place between the SMC staff and the CapaCITIES team, with the CapaCITIES team clarifying some of the queries relating to the project.
Mr. Saptarshi Nag, Deputy Commissioner of the SMC, provided the vote of thanks at the end of the meeting. The visit was complete with the Mayor and the CapaCITIES team interacting with the members of the press.