AGARTALA, Sept 24 (IANS) - Inspired by the Rashtrapati Bhavan's 'Roshni' project in New Delhi, this Tripura capital also aims to turn eco-friendly with ambitious plans afoot to make it an energy-effiecient and pollution-free 'solar city', President Pratibha Patil was told here Friday.
"Drawing inspiration from your (president's) unique initiative in implementing the 'Roshni' project for the development of the President's Estate as a green and energy-efficient township, we shall endeavour to develop Agartala as a similar city," Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) chairperson Sankar Das said at a reception organised in the president's honour.
The President's Estate has become the first urban habitat in India to be awarded a ISO 14001:2004 certificate for environmental management, including pollution control and energy conservation, under its in-house Roshni project that was formally launched in July.
Patil, accompanied by her husband Devisingh Shekhawat, arrived here Friday afternoon from Mizoram capital Aizawl. She is scheduled to attend the eighth convocation of the Tripura University Saturday.
Das said: "The capital city, Agartala, established in 1871 as a municipality by a royal proclamation of the then king Bir Chandra Manikya, is now home to more than 400,000 people."
The Tripura government has undertaken an ambitious plan to make Agartala a 'solar city', replacing at least 10 percent of conventional energy use by solar energy.
"Agartala city would be the first 'solar city' in northeast India within the next few years," State Science, Technology and Environment Minister Joy Gobinda Debroy told IANS.
"A Rs 20-crore project has been undertaken to make Agartala a 'solar city'.
"The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy would bear 90 percent of the cost and remaining would be given by the Tripura government," he said.
As part of the scheme, a solar hot water system would be installed in all hotels, nursing homes, the government circuit houses and bungalows, hospitals and health centres, tourist lodges, temples and the Governor's residence.
"The Tripura Renewable Energy Development Authority (TREDA) and Urban Development Department in association with the ministry of new and renewable energy would implement the scheme," Debroy added.
The city's streetlights would also be operated on solar energy.
The Tripura government also plans to run all public and private vehicles in Agartala on compressed natural gas (CNG) by 2013.
Tripura Natural Gas Co Ltd (TNGCL), a joint venture of the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) and the Tripura and Assam governments, has undertaken a project to supply CNG to all private and government vehicles.
CNG will also be available to those now using electricity, petrol and diesel to run different machinery.
"TNGCL has been supplying piped natural gas (PNG) to 7,416 domestic consumers and 155 commercial establishments and industrial units in Agartala and its outskirts besides hospitals and crematoriums," TNGCL chairman Pabitra Kar told IANS.
He said: "The company will soon provide PNG connections to 10,000 new domestic consumers in the city and outskirts. Agartala will be the first city in India within the next three years to become a green city."
According to Kar, the transport department would introduce 70 CNG-based passenger buses by the month-end to augment the transportation systems.
Over 60 percent autorickshaws, a large number of small cars and buses are now using CNG in Agartala, the fourth city in India after New Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow running CNG vehicles on a large scale.