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More big plans afoot for Kohima Smart City project

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 26, 2019 12:34 am
Kohima wears a new look with railings and footpaths constructed by National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL).

Our Correspondent
Kohima, June 25 (EMN): The Kohima Smart City Development Limited (KSCDL) has given updates and implementation progress of the project in Nagaland’s capital town which is part of the Smart City Mission (SCM), now that it has completed four years.

Kohima was selected for the Smart City Project in 2016. However, the implementation began only in October 2018. Within nine months of the implementation, seven projects were started and are “already on ground” and work is in process.

In this regard, the KSCDL led by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kovi Meyase and other officials called for a press conference on June 25 at the deputy commissioner’s office.

The company is working on roads to be open from the southern gate of the Kohima local ground towards the Union Baptist Church (UBC). The objective was to create a thoroughfare for medium and light vehicles. Towards the end of the UBC, a parking slot will be created. The entire ground will be redesigned, he said. Dismantling the ground’s gallery and rostrum will be required. The CEO said that “negotiations are on with various stakeholders” for that to happen.

This was planned to stop vehicles from plying through the main town and to create it into a ‘walk-able’ area. From the old NST station till Razhü point, a sort of street furniture, and urban presentable structure, and a space for local artists (IDBI area) will be taken up. According to the updates, vendors on both sides of the ‘walk-able’ streets can avail the advantage of ‘peaceful’ trading.

Taking smart city into slum areas
Another development is that the project is trying to concentrate on area development-based (ABD) wards: Midland, D Block, Kitsubozuo, North Block, Naga Bazaar, Daklane, and New Market (wards officially declared as slum wards by the state govt.). The smart city project will be taken into these wards to “let them have the first hand experience and feel smart city,” Meyase said.

A pilot project is a plan to dismantle New Market’s old Panchayat hall. The place will be made available with parking facilities at two levels, and a space to house offices, he said.

WW2 tank to get attention
The project also plans on ‘beautifying’ the Second World War tank that stands below The Heritage. Provisions such as restaurants, parks, and a recreational area are being planned. It also plans to develop a vacant area near the tank and turn it into an attractive, tourist-friendly area, Meyase said.

Redevelopment of the old Secretariat area into ‘Kohima city centre’ is one of the “most ambitious” projects under the Smart City Mission, Meyase said. Dismantling and levelling is on at the area. It envisions a centre with five star hotels, a mall, shopping complex, amphitheatre, gymnasium, green parks, and a multi-level car parking, and even a digital library etc.

‘We are hopeful that in near future it would be perhaps the crowning jewel of Kohima,’ the CEO said.

A major project is the integrated command and control centre (ICCC), which is to be located at the basement of the present supermarket complex. The idea is to ensure social, traffic management, smart street lights etc., he said.

The KSCDL also began the process of making Kohima a Wi-Fi city (project cost is 4 cr.). The Information Technology department started the process, he said.

Few other projects that are in stages of progress include the multilevel car parking at the old Medical directorate (project cost 31.21 cr.) and at old NST station (PC 28.79 cr.). A ‘beautification’ of the town was undertaken in the areas between the Classic Island Junction till the box cutting area. Work is also in progress with the construction of a Smart City office and Kohima Municipal Council’s office together (project cost is 1.32 cr.).

Meanwhile, the construction of Cultural Hall project (PC 36.22 cr.) is ‘under tender,’ and “very soon” the tendering process will be initiated, the CEO informed.

State govt. release 2 cr. out of 111 cr. received
Out of the 111 cr. that was released by the ministry of Urban Development, the KDSCL has received only 2 cr. from the state’s government, which is one of the major hurdles to the implementation of the projects, the official said. According to the guidelines, the state should contribute a matching share of 50% of the central release, it was informed.

Another challenge is the “weak organisational backup in the smart city.” The KSCDL officials who are attached to the planning cells and project cells are “temporarily attached.” They are not attached on permanent basis. The company was of the view that the “government should be backing us more” for such important project as smart city. The CEO said to have made several requests to the authorities in concern regarding the issue but the request has not been granted so far.

A project manager consultant is being appointed but the output is not ‘as per the desire’ of the company, it was informed.

Meyase added that one of the main reasons for delaying SCM in Kohima was the inability to appoint a project manager consultant. On the other hand, the formation of the KSCDL itself took almost a year as ‘it was a new thing,’ the official informed.

The Kohima SCM has about 63 projects of which seven have been started. The company is hopeful that the centre will extend the SCM project, which is due to expire next year.

Currently, Kohima Smart City is ranked the second, among all the states, in uploading city data indicators with a total of 69 indicators after Ujjain city which has 75 indicators.

Some of the achievements so far include appointment of key managerial posts such as chief finance officer, company secretary, and project management consultancy, among others.

An advisory forum was constituted in 2016 but was activated only recently.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 26, 2019 12:34:05 am