HK Khulu IAS
Retd Addl Chief Secretary
The quality of life in Dimapur seems to be going downhill as each year progresses. Dimapur which was a sub-division in Kohima district became a full fledged district in 1997 and comprised of Niuland, Chümoukedima (Nichugard and prior to that Samaguting) and Dhansiripar sub-division. In 2022, Dimapur was trifurcated and now there are three districts- Dimapur-Chümoukedima-Niuland. While the wisdom of the Government cannot be questioned- one wonders whether it was necessary to trifurcate the commercial capital district of the state into three without properly demarcating the inter-district boundaries and jurisdiction of the District authorities/departments. Proper planning of the development of the two new districts of Niuland and Chümoukedima will be extremely helpful and in fact be the pride of Nagaland, however, there are certain issues which are required to be attended to on a war footing so that the commercial capital can continue to be a place where the people can continue to live with grace and pride on the one hand and trade and commerce can be smoothly conducted and Dimapur can continue to flourish. A few suggestions are made in this regard.
1. Traffic has to be managed properly. While it may not be possible to expand the span of the roads, flyovers at strategic locations is a must. Driving in Dimapur has become a nightmare, there is no proper parking spaces created within the city and people park on the already narrow road itself making it impossible to have a smooth flow of traffic. There is an absolute need for multi-storied parking at strategic locations within the city, People would be more than willing to pay the required parking charges just to do shopping or to attend to official/ bank or other work. In fact in many colonies, the streets are so narrow that fire engines cannot enter, not to talk of other disasters. Flyover from Nagarjan point towards Thahekhu area would be of tremendous help. Recent removal of food carts from City Tower area by the administration was a step in the right direction, however alternative location needs to be provided as those removed as they will lose their means of livelihood and they are just struggling unemployed youth. Some of them have now apparently moved towards Duncan colony but there is space constraint. Perhaps Naga Shopping Arcade could serve as a good alternative but this has to be carefully planned and earmarked.
2. Drainage and Waste management: In most colonies, come the rains, the drains are clogged with plastic wastage thrown indiscriminately mostly by residents of the area and sometimes the passersby, this leads to flooding. There is no point blaming DMC or the authorities for this. Change in attitude has to come from the citizens themselves for disposing waste in each household. Civic authorities must then ensure that garbage is regularly picked up from designated points. Many right thinking citizens do make efforts to do social work and clean up but that is once in a while and certainly not enough to deal with this gigantic problem. Some plants that can convert the waste to energy or even fertilizers or road construction materials need to come up at the earliest. Indore is the cleanest city in India as it has efficient waste treatment plants.
3. Treatment of Dhansiri River and making it navigable and even have access to potable after necessary filteration. This is certainly a very tall order but not impossible. Let us look to some of the cities in the World for inspiration. Hudson river, New York, Sienne river in Paris, Thames in London, Nile in Cairo, Potomac in Washington, Brahmaputra in Guwahati, Dhansiri in Dimapur and the list goes on in most parts of the world. Civilisations have grown around the world either on the rivers or the sea. Unfortunately, Dhansiri happens to be amongst the most polluted small rivers in India as per national survey. We are getting so much from nature and the river but are we doing anything worthwhile to preserve it or conserve it? Proper conservation and treatment can change Dimapur and the adjoining areas and improve our lives tremendously.
4. Dimapur City Centre: All important/successful cities in the world have city centres or important points of meeting. When we travel around the World and visit various cities particularly those that are doing well, we come across city centres which are not only must see but are like nerve centres and are part of the character of the city. Some examples are Times Square, New York-Champs de elysee in Paris- Picadilly circus, London- La Rambla, Barcelona and so on so forth. The Naga shopping Arcade was a well planned complex and would have made an excellent city centre but unfortunately it has not been maintained well and has become dilapidated however the main problem may be the so called allottees and perhaps some unions which have been formed and of course those dealing in questionable items. It would require a very strong will of the Government to bring it in line. One important saying comes to mind “ better late than never “ which the Government of the day must remember.