Today, Nagaland’s urban centres are facing numerous developmental challenges including lack of development controls, guidelines and tools (master plan, building byelaws etc) leading to “haphazard and unplanned” urban sprawl, peculiar land-holding system, constitutional conflicts, lack of resources (municipal), fragile geological conditions and challenging terrain (obstacle to development), says Director, Urban Development, Nagaland, A Chenithung Lotha.
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
Director, Urban Development, Nagaland, A Chenithung Lotha, on Friday disclosed that as per the 2011 census, Nagaland has recorded a “decadal growth” of 67.38 percent which is the highest in the country and which is also very alarming and at this rate, Nagaland’s urban centres would be “unmanageable”. Presently, there are 39 ULBs in the state.
Chenithung disclosed this during his opening remarks at the consultation meeting of the Nagaland Urban Infrastructure Development Project (NUIDP) stakeholders on Friday at the Conference Hall, Tourist Lodge, Dimapur. The consultation meet was held on Asian Development Bank (ADB) assisted “Improving Readiness of Infrastructure Development Projects (IRIDPs)” in districts headquarter towns of Nagaland.
Stating that urbanization was taking place rapidly both globally and locally where even a far flung place like Nagaland has not escaped from this phenomenon, Chenithung said that with urbanization comes the livelihood opportunities, better health and education facilities and better communication etc, all leading to better quality of life but he, however, maintained that it also brings negative impacts such
as slum and plighted development, traffic congestion, all sorts of pollution and stress, unaffordable housing, and increase in crime rates etc.
Chenithung, while emphasizing on the developmental challenges, said that today the state’s urban centres were facing numerous developmental challenges including lack of development controls, guidelines and tools (master plan, building byelaws etc) leading to “haphazard and unplanned” urban sprawl, peculiar land-holding system, constitutional conflicts, lack of resources (municipal), fragile
geological conditions and challenging terrain (obstacle to development).
“Due to very low or absence of industrialization and technological development in the state, it is hardly creating any job opportunities”, said Chenithung while also adding that the state’s economic base was weak and are not able to generate sufficient resources that would address some of the state’s urban issues including basic services.
He also said that the state government has been availing centrally sponsored/flagship programmes including AMRUT (water supply, storm water drains, NMT, septage waste management and green spaces etc), Swatch Bharat (solid and septage waste management), NULM (skilling and entrepreneurship development), PMAY (urban housing), and Smart City.
Adding that these various schemes/programmes have not only benefitted the towns but have provided gainful employment to the many individuals/urban dwellers, however, the Urban Development director, said that all these good programmes and schemes have their limitations in terms of coverage and funding which leads to a conclusion that the demand to create urban infrastructure and the fund availability is a “mismatch”.
Different resource persons including Urban Development Expert (Project Manager) PMU, Ranajit Banerjee, Team Leader, Gyanasis Jena, retired engineer, PWD Technical Coordinator Project Design and Management Consultant, Kahuto Sema, Municipal Reforms/Institutional Governance Expert, Bimal Kumar Jha, and Social Safeguard Expert, Lingaraj Panda, also spoke on various issues pertaining to the project and others.
The new administrator of Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC), W Manpai Phom, also shared his opinion. The vote of thanks was delivered by Storm Water Drainage Expert, Hari Krishna Bala. It may be mentioned that the Directorate of Urban Development (DUD), Nagaland, is executing the project of urban infrastructure development in all the 16 districts head towns in the state.
The department has engaged project design and management consultant to prepare DPRs for ensuing loans to improve the integrated infrastructure, and the project would assess the existing infrastructure and demand forecast and develop investment plans for climate resilient integrated urban infrastructure in the state.
‘DMC is going through a rough time’
Meanwhile, the new administrator of Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC), W Manpai Phom, who took over the charge only on Friday talking to this correspondent said that right now DMC is going through a rough time and that there many “new challenges and new visions” for him to face and see.
Stating that he came to know that DMC was not being able to generate resources even to pay off the salaries of its employees only after taking over the charge of administrator, DMC, Friday evening, Manpai said this is the pressing issue as of now for him but beyond that for upkeep of the town, DMC has huge challenges ahead.
With regard to waste management, infrastructural development, beautification of Dimapur and others which is in the lists, Manpai said that though he is yet not ready to comment on the issues as of now, he said “let’s see how it gets unfold while going step by step” to tackle all these issues. He also maintained that the main pressuring issue being to solve the salary issue, then further would have to keep track with the various activities and services to be provided by the DMC to the residents of Dimapur.