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Rourkela wins Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge

18/01/2022 at 11:55 AM

Bhubaneswar, Jan 18: Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the 15 winning cities of the 2021-2022 Global Mayors Challenge, a worldwide innovation competition that supports and spreads cities’ most promising ideas. These 15 winners are being recognized for designing the boldest and most ambitious urban innovations to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The winning ideas address one or more of four current issue areas in cities including economic recovery and inclusive growth; health and wellbeing; climate and environment; and gender and equality.

Rourkela, India’s initiative of supporting solar-powered cold storage, plus women entrepreneurship to reduce waste and distress selling of commodities is awarded one million dollars, in addition to technical support and coaching over three years.

The goal of the initiative is to set up a digitized cluster-based solar cold storage and use electric vehicles to distribute commodities to various categories of consumers. The cold storage will be used by the vendors for the safe storage of their items. The vendors would have the options of either retrieving these items as per their requirement, or marketing them via the cold room operators. The entire system will be operated and managed by the women federation providing them with a new and meaningful livelihood opportunity. Citizens of Rourkela will have the convenience of ordering vegetables sitting in the comfort of their homes.

Dr. Shubankar Mohapatra, Commissioner of Rourkela Municipal Corporation, is delighted to share the news.

“The members of Rourkela Municipal Commission, Koel Fresh Pvt Ltd., research students and alumnus of NIT Rourkela have shown commendable performance in the last 6 months. Through their efforts, our city has clinched the top 15 positions in the world. We are extremely delighted and feel honored to receive the prestigious Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Mayors Challenge 2021 award. Climate change solutions, women empowerment, social inclusion has been the core theme of this project and are the driving force towards strengthening the local economy during Covid and post-Covid scenario,” he said.

“The city has already been working in some of the areas like women empowerment through Self-Help Group engagement, Solarization Rourkela and others. Such an award is going to escalate the sustainable development works on the ground. In the coming days, our team along with our external partners, Koel Fresh Pvt Ltd., a startup based out of NIT Rourkela, would work extensively in enhancing the livelihood of small vendors and members of women self-help groups.

The project is also emphasized to help residents of Rourkela in getting their essential commodities like fruits, vegetables, dairy products to their doorstep in a more effective manner. We are very much hopeful that such a 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,” Mohapatra said.

The initiative will have a long-lasting impact on the well-being of the city residents. Small and marginal vendors (especially women vendors) residing in Rourkela would see a reduction in distressed selling of their commodities. This would unlock their potential to sell more, expand their customer base and subsequently produce better commodities.

This would directly impact their financial and emotional well-being. Women federation members residing in Rourkela would get access to new and meaningful livelihood opportunities. They would also get to positively impact the lives of small and marginal vendors.

Senior citizens and physically challenged citizens of Rourkela would now have the option to order and receive commodities (fruits and vegetables) at their doorstep independently. Mainstream citizens would also have the choice and comfort of commodity shopping from home. The use of emerging and clean technologies will have a positive impact on the environment of Rourkela.

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