Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Uniquely Singapore!

My main mission when I became Prime Minister, was to keep Singapore going and Singapore has been kept going. So, I'm happy with what I've done for Singapore..  Goh Chok Chnag.

These are the words I remember during my latest I visit the unique city Singapore! I have already wrote about few of the aspects of the city but every time I visit it I found something new the city has adopted & it don't stop amazing me with what it has adopted! Whenever name of Singapore is mentioned it is mostly in reference with tourism, a great holiday destination for fun, food & shopping but beyond that there is much to see & learn. Like when ever we mention forest it's for seeing the Tiger but we forget Tiger is just a link may be central one in entire chain of biodiversity! Similarly shopping is just one aspect the city has to offer to its residents & visitors amongst the multiple other aspects of living. Shopping is just one of them but because the other aspects are so well balanced we can enjoy the shopping experience in more better way!

Every time on each front there is a change may it be Garbage collection to parking systems or MRT i.e. Metro Rail or SBS ie  Singapore Bus service like the Environmental science is daily evolving the urge of Singapore rulers for making the city better keeps on evolving & so it gets reflected in every aspect of city living. Here I will like to share some of my experiences with you which we will speak in detail later. Scene one : You land on airport & there is a display of Singapore guides in 4 different languages giving detailed information about do's & don't's in city as well places to visit with detailed maps of Public transport including tariffs!  And these all brochures are free of cost! Scenene two : You are moving in heavy traffic of Singapore at peak work hours & yet you don't find any traffic cop on streets to control the traffic & yet no traffic jams of honking of horns are there! Scene three: A Garbage collecting truck crosses your vehicle & the driver is with smiling face & you don't even notice the stingy smell of Garbage truck! Scene four: December  is rainy season here & it rains heavily every day usually late noon. And you don't see water getting clogged any where on road & all roads are clear of water immediately after the rains get stopped!
Scene five: At MRT station your money you put in ticketing machine but you don't get ticket issued, you tell this to the clerk near by at customer service center & smiling she apologizes & give you another ticket without even asking that whether you have put the money in the machine! Scene six: At taxi stand when your number comes for taxi & the taxi driver isn't going in the direction which you want to go he apologizes & leave without taking any traveller ie empty & let the taxi behind him takes you & this continues til you get the taxi to your destination!

So many such scenes are happening in the city at various public places & here lies the success of Singapore as a city & its uniqueness! Many a times while moving through the city & looking around I wonder whether the city has planned & developed at one single time, such is the monolithic development there! Nothing seems out of proportion or getting detached from surrounding & that's the success of the proper planning which is missing from our cities! As to plan is first step & to execute what you have planned is second! They do have the problems just any other developing urban metros are having like population, vehicles, garbage, concretisation causing lesser area available for greenery but important is the way they have balanced all these issues & making policies for the same & adopt them!

Like they have now started keeping four types of Garbage bins at all public places for collecting the garbage in segregated forms & look at the way they are doing it so beautifully! I couldn't stop remembering our garbage bins overflowing with all kind of waste getting dumped in mix form & to segregate the waste in itself is a major job for the public body. Innovation is the key & same thing has been kept in mind even while collecting the garbage. Our containers just stinks & for interest look out for the faces of drivers of our garbage trucks as well the labors working on it, they are grim & never smiling. And you can understand it because of the conditions they have to work in. But reverse was the case here, I could see the smiling face of the garbage truck driver in Singapore as the way capping has been done to the garbage that there was no foul smell in which he has to drive the vehicle!

With all due respect to the best public transport system which includes perfect combination of Metro rail & Bus service yet the number of private vehicles has been increased alarmingly even in Singapore. Yet you don't see a single traffic police on road as each street & chowk is covered by camera surveillance! And do mind fines are heavy! There are parking places created in every new commercial buildings & whats best is the information of parking lots available in adjoining buildings is displayed in every square via digital billboards,making it easier for commuters to find the parking lots without making them wait along the roads & causing traffic jams! 

Making the public transport system better & better seems to be the main goal of the city & in that zest they are innovating like anything! Bus stop at Singapore is a subject of study in itself, every time they keep on modifying the same for the better convenience of commuters. All the bus routes, destinations,timings of buses & fare to each destination is displayed on every bus stop. Not to forget the cleanliness maintained as well the sitting arrangements & commercial aspect for using the billboards for advertising! In Metro ie rail system the signage is such that even a new comer to city can find his destination with minimum guidance. Not only there is a display of stations in each boogie but on which side door will be opening that also is displayed at each station making it easier for the commuters to decent from the train. Reserved seats for elderly people, pregnant women & physically handicap persons are specially made & mentioned in each boogie & they are located near the door for their easy use. Surveillance cameras are at every entrance of the station as well on platforms & they are monitored round the clock. At the same time we have to respect the civic sense of the people as when there is red light & green for pedestrians not as single vehicle crosses over by an inch on the the zebra crossing! Imagine a signle without a policeman in our city & you will know importance of such civic sense!

Reducing greenery with the urbanization is a big threat to biodiversity & hats of,what an effort of making people aware about wild life conservation as well biodiversity! There are centers like Jurong Bird Park where they have merged the same with entertainment & commercialized the concept,making tourists enjoy the entire learning as well seeing all those exotic species who needs attention or else they will extinct soon! At all major cities we should adopt the concept, we have some but the awareness part through various shows they conduct at Jurong Bird park making visitors & birds get together!As such developments only will make common people get exposed to rare species of animals & make them realize what they will be missing if such species get extinct! Will be posting more snaps. each tree is aligned with the big trees on both sides & exotic flower beds aligned all along the road segregating main roads & foot path as well cycle tracks. This scene is common all over the city & even bridges have been landscaped by nice crippers like bougainvillea covering the concrete parts.There are cycle tracks & you can actually drive cycles over them unobstructed!

Terrace farming is anew thing in there. Most of the multi storied buildings terraces have been used for farming & Air conditioning plants recycled water is used for the same. This has been a big solution for reducing land for farming the vegetables which is the main need of the population of the city.

Not stopping at just infrastructural things the govt does take the cognizance of controlling property rates too by making policies so. As the goal is all the needy ones should get the houses in affordable prices & for that they have Housing Development Bord who builds nearly 60% houses in the city & makes them available to the residents in lowest possible pricing.

All in all the experience makes you know why the city has risen to such a popular destination for every body & you cant stop loving it more & more with each passing day you spend in there. But we should not forget its not been achieved in a single day but years of meticulous planning & efforts put in executing the planning which has made it possible. So bringing back just few momentos & shopping items can't be a tribute to the city & its makers , if at all we can bring back from there then we should bring back the attitude of every Singaporean towards his city & try to cultivate here in our town then only our visit to the great city has really paid off!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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