Monday, January 30, 2023

Inescapable fact

Much had been written and commented in this column for several decades about Dimapur City in particular and how it was being systematically being undone socially, economically and physically. Dimapur, during the 80s was second fastest growing city in the north east and enjoyed an economic boom unrivalled except by Guwahati. Since the past decades, this newspaper had been highlighting actions needed to enable Dimapur to meet the desired level for economic progress. Among those regularly highlighted was on how Dimapur railway station was being short changed by the Northeastern Frontier Railways(NFR) in terms not placing even single of the 40 plus long distance trains at Dimapur which earns NFR the second highest revenue after Guwahati. All the long distance trains running beyond Guwahati, emanate at Tinsukia. Only the Nagaland Express and BG Express run from Dimapur to Guwahati. The state government since 2003 has only provided lip service for improvement of facilities for passengers. The state government has fought shy of eviction of encroachers into railway land for whatever reasons and this, by default, has only strengthened the hands of anti-Nagaland/anti-Dimapur lobby at Maligaon/Lumding. The other was the Dimapur airport, among the oldest civilian airports in the north east. Dimapur airport began handling civilian planes during the late 70s when most current civilian airports in the region were not in existence nor operating civilian aircraft. Even with Dimapur airport, the state government has done precious little since 2003 and despite having an alliance with the ruling party at the Centre, no effort has been made to expand, improve and upgrade Dimapur airport. Despite the state government’s apparent lack of interest, the civil aviation ministry had increased flight services to Dimapur including the much needed short haul aircraft connecting Dimapur-Guwahati-Imphal. A recent addition was the Shillong-Guwahati-Dimapur-Imphal service. Another aspect that became a glaring admission about the neglect of Dimapur was remark of the chief minister during the inauguration of the state-of-the-art Cardiac care centre at Christian Institute of Health Science & Research (CIHSR). The chief minister had expressed the desire that CIHSR, a premier health institute having over 400 beds, could become a medical college. In fact, the government should have considered turning the CISHR into medical college years ago. CISHR not only has the compliment of beds and space but it is located in Dimapur, which is connected by land, rail and air with other cities. This means, that visiting faculty members from other states will be able to travel to and from Dimapur without problem. Also the technical back up as well as skilled manpower is available in Dimapur which is close to both Jorhat (where a medical college has been established) and Guwahati. Even with regard to installing BSL at the height of covid-19 pandemic, the government gave BSL-II at Dimapur and BSL-III at Kohima. The state government pursued a medical college in Kohima and did a post-haste inauguration in 2014. Despite having spent around Rs. 200 crore out of the estimate of Rs. 365 crore, the project has run aground. Among the several issues that confronts the project, one is that the hospital(NHAK), Hospital Colony (above NH 29) is several kilometres away from the administrative complex at Phriebagei. All these should be a wake up call for right thinking people of Dimapur as they have to apply their minds on what is the best they can do.

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