Improper urban planning in Northeast

Chizokho Vero
Kohima | February 7

Airing concern over the improper urban planning in the north eastern states, the need to adopt a comprehensive strategy and road map for securing a holistic development and reformation of urban areas has been stressed here today at the regional workshop on “Urban Governance, Management and Municipal Finance” for the north eastern states.

Chief Secretary Lalthara told the workshop that the vulnerability of earthquake is very high in North East. Lalthara said most of towns/cities in North East are in congestion coupled with water, sanitation and drainage problem, adding that it is very difficult to rectify now as proper urban planning was not taken into account 

He cited an instance where Aizawl with 2.5 lakh people has grown without any plan. He said urban planning is going to be very important for future. He also opined that urban centre be set up for gainful employment to the educated unemployed youth. He also stressed on the need make new plan of new townships and broadband connectivity.

On traffic congestion in Kohima, he said the state government has already submitted a proposal for introducing cable car project and the approval is awaited. When approved, this service would connect Kohima Science College, Jotsoma, Nagaland University, Nagaland Secretariat side, High Court etc. Lalthara was optimistic that the project will become a reality. 

He also said the suggestion of the then Nagaland University (NU) vice chancellor Prof. K. Kannan of making Kohima as “Knowledge City”, if fulfilled, will be a unique one. The chief secretary also stated that we should start taking tax on land and building, which he said can generate huge revenue for municipal especially in Kohima and Dimapur.

He also stressed on the need to incorporate the issue of global warming and climate change in framing urban planning.  Stating that pollution is a major threat in municipality, he said waste management, non conventional source energy also be focused. 

In the wake of the increasing population in urban areas, the cities are now under a complex phenomenon, proving to be disaster for not having proper planning, regretted Dr. A.P. Tiwari, Fellow HSMI, New Delhi. He cited the problem of water scarcity, lack of civic rights, poor sanitary system in the region. The Government of India introduced a package with an allocation of Rs. 7000 crores towards the development of urban areas across the country where Rs. 2000 crore is set specifically for slum. 

“Accountability and transparency is very important in governance,” Dr. Tiwari said adding that unless a change take place in governance it is very difficult to serve the people in a right way.

Stating that the two day long workshop will touch on urban governance, reform, municipal finance, management, Dr. Tiwari said the outcome and findings based on ground realities and problems face by the north eastern states will be forwarded to Ministry of Urban Development.

Urban development secretary Neihu C, Thur, told the workshop that urban reforms process was started way back in 90’s in Nagaland and Nagaland Municipal Act was adopted in 2000, and later amended in 2006. We have achieved a lot but still more ground to achieve,” he said. He also called for a collective endeavour to have a strong and vibrant world class urban infrastructure in the state.

He stated that urban population which constitutes 17% in 2001 in Nagaland, now rose to 29% as per 2011 census. Everything will depend upon effective governance, financing and accountability, Thur said and at the same time stressed on the need to come up with a road map in consonance with a ground reality. According to him, the road map must be workable, practicable and result- oriented.

The Ministry of Urban Development asked all the north eastern states to come up with their respective road map within 6 months time.

For Nagaland, he said the road map should be effective and people friendly so that the government can say we have reform fully and the urban local bodies can be able to stand on their own feet.

Earlier, Medozho Zango delivered welcome address while P.K. Konwar, AGM (P), HUDCO Kohima proposed vote of thanks.
The workshop was organised by HUDCO, Centre for Sustainable Habitat Human Settlement Management Institute, New Delhi. Technical session took place at Hotel CIMORB. It will continue till February 8.