Global Mayors Challenge 2021: Rourkela Among 50 Champion Cities From 23 Countries

Bhubaneswar: Rourkela has found a place among 50 champion cities, representing the boldest urban innovations of the past year emerging out of the COVID pandemic, in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge.

Bloomberg Philanthropies on Tuesday announced names of these 50 cities that will advance to the final stage of this worldwide innovation competition, which encourages and spreads the cities’ most promising ideas.

The 50 cities from 29 countries were elevated on four criteria — vision, potential from impact, feasibility and transferability.

Rourkela has been lauded for providing women entrepreneurs access to both solar-powered cold-storage units and new electric vehicle to distribute and deliver fresh fruits and vegetables at doorsteps of citizens.

“Rourkela’s idea is compelling because it brings a gender-equity lens, as the majority of vendors are female, and is envisioned to be managed entirely by women federations across the city.” it said.

“Rourkela proposed to address the challenges faced by small farmers, vegetables and fruits vendors by establishing solar-powered cold storage solution at various city locations; managed and operated by women self-help groups. The project has options to distribute and deliver fresh fruits and vegetables at the doorsteps of citizens through battery-operated vehicles. This will help in the sustainable economic growth of the stakeholders. I believe that Rourkela will excel in achieving the vision and will subsequently find a place in the top 15 cities in the final leg of the challenge,” Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) Commissioner Dibyajyoti Parida said in a press brief on Wednesday.

From June 23 through October, the 50 finalist cities will refine their ideas with technical assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its network of leading innovation experts. Fifteen of the 50 cities will ultimately win the grand prize, with each receiving $1 million and robust multi-year technical assistance to implement and scale their ideas. The winners will be announced in early 2022.

“These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious ideas,” Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City, said on this occasion.

Deputy Commissioner, RMC, Sudhansu Kumar Bhoi is leading the proposed project, being implemented under the guidance of Commissioner RMC, Dibyajyoti Parida. Prasanta Kumar Nayak has been designated as the project manager for the same. The initiative is being implemented with technical support from agro tech and clean energy startup Koel Fresh Pvt Ltd.

Led by Koel Fresh CEO, Ashutosh Nayak, a team of current students and alumni of NIT Rourkela is working on the project.

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