Novel ways to solve parking problems: Dr. Shurhozelie

K0HIMA, JAN. 29 (MExN): Urban Planning Minister, Dr. Shurhozelie today said that during the last four years the “vehicle population has increased manifold and though had improved the circulation of money to a great extent and now with this blessing, our roads appear smaller.”

As such, parking is one of his top priorities. “It is comforting to know that our present Government had made the people in general a little more comfortable since many are able to buy at least a car or a mode of conveyance. However, on the other hand, we have the chronic problem of parking.” As such, the minister said that he had started measures to develop a parking on the Science College road here. In this connection a minister’s official bungalow was demolished for the purpose right opposite to the Forest Minister’s official residence. The project envisages accommodating 150 heavy vehicles and it is hoped to be completed by March this year.

Besides this ongoing project, the minister disclosed that his department has plans to bring out a “blueprint” for leveling the present New NST complex here to make way for a five-storied building which would cater for a multi-level parking. He described the project as “Ground floor plus four”. The ground floor would cater for fifty per cent heavy vehicles and the rest for light {or small) vehicles. The second floor would level with the local Kohima ground and along with the third and fourth floors would cater for parking of vehicles including those of the Nagaland University officials and others (perhaps at a nominal monthly fee). The top-most floor would be concentrated entirely on a shopping mall.

Agreeing that this is an “ambitious project,” the minister said that due to lack of space, it had become necessary to go for high rise buildings “to stop unnecessary parking” and because parking problems could be solved to a great extent because ‘we cannot widen the land base of the buildings’.

On being asked about the financial implications involved in such a gigantic project, Dr Shurhozelie said it may take several years to fructify. However, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Reconstruction Mission (JNNURM) would be footing the bill. And in this connection, there are plans also for development of parking places near the Veterinary Hospital and IG stadium here. “It all depends on how we project the estimates,” he said.

Besides, A “parking-cum-shopping complex” has already been started in Mokokchung town and for which Rs 21 Crore had already been sanctioned. Further, there are other schemes for Dimapur also but the minister declined to elaborate on them at the moment. He, however, said that his department was taking up schemes for slum upgradation of the urban poor. This was necessitated by the fact that there has been extensive migration from the rural to urban areas by mainly the youths in search of employment. And, “since our towns tend to grow haphazardly, I am preparing a blueprint for all in this regard,” he said.

The minister, who also holds the Cabinet portfolio for higher and technical education, also said that the post-matric scholarships are a centrally sponsored scheme and many Naga students have benefited from it whereas the State Governmentonly deals with the paper work. Last year, the students had a stir so we had to provide ‘the scholarships on our own and then refund after the Centre provided the funds’. As soon the Centre releases the funds our aim is to release them immediately, he added.