Bhubaneswar: In a move towards protection of environment, the State Government has decided to develop Ekamra Kshetra Heritage Zone in Old Bhubaneswar as a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), said Dr.K Murugesan, Member Secretary Odisha State Pollution Control Board and Director Environment.
Dr.Murugesan said for the first time in India such an Eco-Friendly Move is taken up in the State of Odisha by the Department of Forest, Environment and Climate Change.
The old town area of Bhubaneswar surrounding the Lingaraj Temple is a congested area and contributes significantly to the air pollution within the city. Therefore, the Ekamra Kshetra Heritage Zone has been chosen to be developed as a LEZ, a senior official said.
This zone earmarked for LEZ is expected to have multiple clean air measures in an integrated manner to have a holistic effect in reducing air pollution.
For the proposed Low Emission Zone (LEZ) at Ekamra Kshetra Heritage Zone in Bhubaneswar, an integrated approach is considered covering various sectors of relevance so that air pollution control reduction can be achieved holistically, the official said.
This decision was taken at the Steering Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena recently.
The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has developed a concept in the year 2021 for the development of this LEZ with the vision to provide the citizens of Bhubaneswar and the visitors to the city with clean air for better health and improved quality of life, through eco-sensitive planning, without compromising employment growth, and ensuring preservation of diverse historical and cultural heritage.
The technical proposal for establishing a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) at Ekamra Kshetra Heritage Zone in Bhubaneswar, based on the OSPCB concept, has been prepared by the GIZ team based on the study undertaken by its consultants IPE Global.
The boundary of the Ekamra Kshetra LEZ covers an area of 4.5 sq. km. The City Development Plan (CDP) for Bhubaneswar – 2030 further divides the Ekamra Kshetra heritage zone into three parts. The outer core which covers an area of 2 sq. km., central core which covers an area of 2 sq. km. and the inner core which covers an area of 0.5 sq. km.
The famous Lingaraj Temple, which is the major tourist attraction of the Ekamra Kshetra is located inside the Inner core of the heritage zone.
The proposed LEZ in Bhubaneswar aims to provide an integrated solution within the selected zone by addressing all key aspects such as land use planning and management, traffic and transportation solutions, waste management solutions to prevent burning and dumping, uninterrupted power supply and inclusion of renewable energy systems to prevent the use of diesel generators, plantations and landscaping etc. This approach is expected to provide a holistic effect for reduction of air pollution.
The major point of establishing this LEZ is that the air pollution reduction is achieved through participation of citizens living within the zone and the floating population coming into the zone.
Therefore, the OSPCB together with GIZ conducted stakeholder consultations with key stakeholders to take their feedback and suggestions for the proposed solutions for establishing the LEZ. All stakeholders agreed to implement clean air initiatives for transforming the heritage zone as a Low Emission Zone.
During the meeting, the State Transport Authority (STA) has been asked to introduce a green stickering system in the zone, while CRUT will run e-vehicles for public transport and last-mile connectivity in the restricted zone.
OREDA has been directed to come up with a renewable and efficient energy system, BMC will protect the open spaces in the area and increase the existing green coverage in the zone.