Pune, Austin city sign friendship treaty

ST Correspondent
Friday, 28 September 2018

Vaishali Patkar told Sakal Times that in July 2017, a member from her AVM approached her saying that local citizens’ group from Austin city in Texas wants experts advice to solve their environmental, health and educational issues from other countries.

PUNE: What are the common factors that are affecting Pune and Austin city? Well, if we go by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the mayors of these two cities then, surely we can be cheerful. The objective of the MoU is to help each other with the issues like health, environment, education, social and culture elements. 

With an aim of developing a sustainable long-term connection between both the cities, Steve Adler Mayor of Austin and Mukta Tilak, Pune Mayor, in the presence of the local community groups of both the cities signed a friendship treaty on Wednesday.

Vaishali Patkar, member of Aundh Vikas Mandal (AVM) told Sakal Times that in July 2017, a member from her AVM approached her saying that local citizens’ group from Austin city in Texas wants experts advice to solve their environmental, health and educational issues from other countries. And since Pune is a city where there are NGOs’ and experts for a variety of issues, I thought of doing a direct connection with the mayor of our city and mayor of Austin so that they can sign a memorandum which could be helpful for both the cities.    

Patkar said, “From January the actual work started when we approached Mayor Tilak. Both the cities have historic, cultural and educational heritage, as the City of Austin is a cultural, economic and industrial centre in the United States of America recognised as ‘The Live Music Capital of the World’ and ‘Clean Air City’. Similarly, Pune is the cultural and educational capital of Maharashtra and also one of the fastest growing cities in India. This association will be beneficial for both the cities towards exchanging ideas in the field of education, culture, healthcare and environment. In this initial stage, only friendship treaty has been signed where cultural and social values will be shared while the second stage of the MoU will contain several topics to cover consisting of environment, health, education and other such related issues.”

“They were looking for twin city system in India where the cities share same problems just like theirs. So they have selected Pune and Chandigarh where the traffic, climate, education system related problems are the same. They are looking out for some expert advice where they could apply in their city for the specific issue and it will be worked out vice-a-versa. Delegates from Austin are visiting Pune to get hold of the cultural lookout of the city. The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) is also participating in this initiative,” Patkar added.

POINTS MENTIONED IN THE MOU
- Exchanging ‘lessons learned’ and ‘best practices’ gained to-date as a part of implementing the goals of ‘Smart Cities’ initiatives that both the cities are actively engaged in.
- Connecting leaders in the areas of medicine, public health, wellness approaches, high tech and IT sectors to define strategies that benefit both the cities.
- Working together to promote opportunities in music and creative industries through exchanges and collaborations such as, during the festival in Austin and corresponding festivals in Pune to enhance and enrich both the cities.
- Sharing best practices in city services such as water and groundwater management, biodiversity conservation, sanitation, transportation, public safety and citizens’ engagement.
- Exchanging information and enhancing current strategies to ensure sustainable and eco-friendly economic growth with emphasis on carbon footprint in both cities.

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