Sunday, June 4, 2023

A far cry

As the premier commercial city of Nagaland, there are several things that need to be fixed in Dimapur , if it is to progress in the real sense of the term other than more retail outlets and buildings. The list is long from- sufficient power to drive business and industry, improved traffic management to reduce traffic congestion, earmarking commercial areas and enforcing building regulations, giving priority on disposal of garbage, providing an efficient drainage system within Dimapur City so as to prevent overflowing of effluent especially on roads, timely repair of roads, providing space for a common market to serve the needs of at least three to four colonies; providing efficient civic services and last but not the least, maintenance of law and order as a preventive measure to instil a sense of security and well being of the people and particularly, the business community. All these are not requirements that have come up only recently but which have been there since decades in order to provide basic necessities for an ever growing cosmopolitan city. Increasing influx of migrants from within and beyond Nagaland into Dimapur, has severely challenged its capacity to maintain and manage. In the past decades till the 80s, life in Dimapur was free and economic activities vibrant. Social peace was maintained due to cooperation among its founding fathers, business pioneers and elders of various communities. This changed after the 90s when gun toting elements and tribal hegemony came into prominence and gave rise to the ideology of ‘power flows through the barrel of the gun’ and ‘might is right’. Managing Dimapur has never been easy but not impossible provided both the civil and civic authorities stayed on course. Dimapur is also the home to hundreds of organisations and unions including Naga political groups. There are over 150 NGOs and voluntary organisations and nearly 50 unions operating in Dimapur besides around a dozen political groups. One of the highlights of Dimapur has been forcible, illegal and unauthorised taxations, another ‘unique’ phenomenon being that majority are collected multiple times. The curse of illegal, rampant and multiple taxation has damaged the business environment and put many enterprises out of business. The state actors on the other hand also impose forest royalty on marble, granite, wood products for which GST have been paid; and sales tax as applicable etc. These activities have earned Dimapur and the state a dubious distinction as the extortion capital and safe haven for other outfits. Dimapur has been losing the race in infrastructure development due to several factors since the 90s but unfortunately, no serious effort has been made to analyse the manifestations and undertake remedial measures. Almost all leaders and people in power and positions have residences and properties in Dimapur but somehow, development of Dimapur escapes attention of their minds. Even past elected members from Dimapur have ignored the need to put Dimapur back on the tracks of development. If things don’t improve within the next few years, it will only accelerate the obliteration of all the idealistic dreams of Dimapur being among the developing towns of the north east. Unless the government is clear about its responsibility in promoting not only business but rule of law, it will be culpable of lending a hand in creating a chaotic environment that is detrimental to the future.


Repent at leisure

Wrestling maniac

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