Monday, December 5, 2022

City centre

When we travel to various cities of the globe particularly those that are developed and doing well, we come across city centre or centres which are not only a must see but also like nerve centres and is a part of the character of the city. Some examples are Times square, new York, champs de elysee, Paris, Picadilly circus, London, La Rambla, Barcelona and so on so forth. Most of the elected leaders or others from Nagaland have travelled widely around the Globe and are fully aware but unfortunately, we have not been able to put it in place in our state.
There was a time during DAN 1 Government of Nagaland had proposed city centre in the area of the old secretariat, Kohima but nothing got translated on ground and even discussions do not seem to happening. Hopefully the Kohima smart city project will take this into consideration. In fact the Commercial capital, Dimapur requires at least one city centre and it would be possible in the Naga shopping arcade area now in Dimapur district or in the Northeast Agri Expo area, now in Chumukedima district. The state Government will do well to look into this aspect beside priorities such as Roads, Power, Water supply, Health, Education and other essential services. People of Nagaland are eagerly awaiting “ change is coming” – the slogan of the present Government.
It is heartening to note that during the recent visit of the Advisor(Urban development) Dr. Nicky Kire and the principal Secretary Shri Himato Zhimomi there was a discussion about City Centre in the Naga Shopping Arcade area as was reported by a local daily. There is a great need for us to keep pace with the rest of the world. A city centre is not just a place for leisure but rather a nerve centre of the city. Important events, conferences, meetings can happen in this location which will have required facilities such as IT centre, Mall or convenience stores, fuelling station, Movie complex, Cafes/ restaurants, souvenir stores, Bookshops, Conference halls and a sizable outdoor space for large meetings/events and also for parking. The details can be worked out as per requirement by technical experts as per the original plan, space is still available.
The recent unfortunate incident of a few eucalyptus trees collapsing in the Shopping Arcade area leading to loss of precious lives and injuries to some others was indeed tragic. The District Magistrate in consultation with disaster management and other related departments ordered for felling of all the trees along that stretch from Nagarjan police point to Walford Junction. More than 400 standing trees have been felled and the area looks like the bald head of some of our esteemed leaders. The main area of concern is that this cleared area should not be misused for allotment of stalls or such other structures. It is so heartbreaking to note that the beautifully planned Arcade is slowly turning into concrete jungle and structures have sprung up all over the complex and even worse it has become a vice den. There is still hope if the political leaders as well as the local leaders, officers and the public are able to see the larger picture and come up with clear vision and concrete plan to rejuvenate this precious location and make it a place of pride for not only Dimapurians but Nagas in general. It is getting late and we need to wake up “ better late than never “
I can vividly recall, as the then Additional Deputy Commissioner( 1986-88), Dimapur which was still a Sub-Division under Kohima District, the Local administration had made several attempts to shift the Hong Kong market as well as roadside peddlers on Church road to the Naga Shopping Arcade as it had sufficient parking space and had the potential to become one of the best markets even in the Northeastern region.There was a lot of reluctance as the people were not willing to move out from their comfort Zones and perhaps due to some vested interest. However, the Wednesday market gradually came up and has been catering to the public quite well though not in orderly manner.
The Eucalyptus trees which have been cut should replaced by some other aesthetically and physically suitable trees for shade as well as aesthetics. The idea of city centre should be seriously looked into by the State Government, District administration and the Development Authority of Nagaland(DAN). Allotment of space to private parties without careful consideration of the Master Plan must be stopped forthwith. The public of Dimapur must remain vigilant on this issue in order that Dimapur can become a better city- remember that Dimapur is the commercial capital of the state and there is a great need for the denizens to think of it as “ Our city”
H.K.Khulu IAS (Rtd),
Former Addl Chief
Secretary & Development Commr, AKukau (Naghuto old), Lakeview, Jorpukhri, Purana Bazar, Dimapur

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