D. Thara, a 1995 batch IAS officer, is the commissioner of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). Having worked in Gujarat since 1997, she has gained diverse experience of working in various cities, including Ahmedabad, Kheda, Rajkot, Vadodara and Surendranagar and in various departments across sectors.
A zoology, botany and chemistry graduate, her postgraduation was in biotechnology. Prior to joining AMC, she worked as a district development officer in the cities of Vadodara and Surendranagar for two years. During this period, she was involved in land revenue management and district and development administration.
Thara has also worked as deputy municipal commissioner of AMC for approximately two years. During this period, she worked on various projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and was one of the pioneers of the bus rapid transit system (BRTS) project.
Ahmedabad has been successful in developing the first BRTS in India, which is also a landmark project. “What is important is that we reserved a corridor for the BRTS beforehand, commissioned it in October 2009, and gave it a total network of 88 km ferrying 140,000 passengers per day,” says Thara.
She also initiated the Second Revised Draft Development Plan 2021 as the chief executive authority, Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority, in 2008. Thanks to her focused vision and leadership qualities, a number of new concepts and ideas were incorporated in the plan. They included a central business district, a transit-oriented zone, a residential affordable housing zone, and the preparation of local area plans for such projects. Following this, she completed the First Revised Draft Development Plan of Gandhinagar.
Her major focus as the commissioner of AMC is to drive the city with more efficiency by using newer technologies. She has also championed women’s empowerment in various aspects of city governance. For example, she has brought ragpickers and a self-help women’s group into the mainstream through various social projects.
Under her able leadership, Ahmedabad has been selected as one of the first 20 smart cities of India. In addition, her openness to new technology has brought many “first-time projects” to Ahmedabad such as sewage sludge hygienisation using radiation.