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Op-Ed

My observation on the problems of Kohima city

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By EMN Updated: Nov 21, 2014 7:58 pm
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Ruovihulie Angami, Kohima Town

1. Administration of Kohima Municipal Council (KMC)
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hanks to the Kohima Village Youth Organization (KVYO) Silver Jubilee held recently where its two founding-members namely, Shri Menuovilie Kesiezie and Shri Neivor Rutsa for giving a matured/broad-minded statement as to how the people of Kohima Village in particular and the Angami community in general, have to maintain an accommodative spirit to all the people who are living in Kohima city. In fact, people from all walks of life who are living in Kohima city have to give due respect to the Kohima Village for allowing us to live, develop and grow together without much disturbances but at the same time, in one way or the other, we may be more grateful to this Village if more spirit of accommodation and oneness of our people especially in the formation of Kohima Municipal Council. We do not know the reason why Municipal Council elections could not be held for so long in all the district capitals especially the State Capital City, Kohima. We all know that Kohima city could not be developed on time because of using Kohima Town Committee (KTC) with less ideas of its development. Now, with the changing of its nomenclature from KTC to KMC which came into being in 2003 (10 yrs old) with broader approach and more resources towards its development and advancement.In 2006, somehow I proposed in one of the Angami Public Organization General Meetings that no one will object if a capable candidate from Kohima Village can become the Chairman of KMC as the land-owner village but out of the 19 KMC ward representatives, if some broad-minded and men of principle from other Naga tribes like Chakhesang, Rengma, Ao, Lotha, Sema who are next to the Angami population in the city, may be accommodated as members in KMC (even as Government nominee) so that better co-operation and unity can be possible because these members could convince their respective tribe/community for every step of promoting this city’s welfare. In other word, I would suggest that in future if such civic body election is to be held, this ideas is to be taken into consideration that KMC members should not be necessarily from one tribe/village/political party means we will have a strong Municipal which is above tribalism and party colour. The sooner the better if this goodwill approach is maintained as the first district Capital from where the good example can spread to other cosmopolitan cities like Dimapur without which there is more chance of tribalism, party politics and narrow-mindedness of our people which may continue to block the progress of our decent city and living.2. Sanitary Problems: Where there are more transactions or market places by locals or non-locals (with due apology) of labor class from mainland India who maintain their caste system of not doing the manual works of cleaning their surroundings or the local people who have no civic sense of maintaining sanitation are polluting our environment. Inspite of creating an awareness on the importance of sanitation by certain agencies-governmental and non-governmental agencies, still we are not happy with the old mindset of our people neglecting this area that (a) “sanitation is for health, development and dignity of labour”- PHED (b) sanitation is very much scriptural/biblical as it is mentioned in Deut. 23:13 and 14 (for which once I shared with the Kohima Pastors’ meeting in 2003 that we are misusing the popular song of Jim Reeves, “this world is not my home, I’m just passing through the dirts which is very unfortunate. Now, the Church leaders are already aware of this area and has to take up more proactive measures since many of them have been to many well-maintained cities in India and abroad (c) Then a secular approach to sanitation can be more meaningful with the statement of Mahatma Gandhi “sanitation is more important than Independence” and if our people do not maintain proper sanitation, it is more or less incomplete or useless even if we have our own Independence/sovereignty.
To implement/interpret this noble job into practice, the following agencies/ platforms may kindly take up steps to improve the system-
(a) Offices from the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, Directorate, District and Sub-Divisional Level Offices (b) Educational institutions (c) Churches (d) Neighborhood or colony people (e) Clubs (f) Volunteers (g) Students’ Unions (h) KMC (i) KCCI (j) Police personnel on duty to supervise sanitation works in the City.
The ugliest scene of Kohima city is the dumping of waste papers/materials lying on its streets during the peak hours or day-time for which the shop-keepers should be ordered to keep their adjacent areas neat and clean even during day time by throwing waste materials in a packing to be thrown only during collection time of waste materials by KMC vehicles and even the shoppers or pedestrians should be directed to throw the dirts to the dust/waste bins only. As we have been observing, the dirtiest area in main town/city are from ABC Hotel to M.K. Market/Mission Road Junction/Tata Parking/Mini Bus stand of North Police Station, 15 BRTF Camp Gate area of High School junction in Kohima, and to Sanuorü of Secretariat Road and the Nagaland Civil Secretariat premises / Plaza where we need special attention. In regard to wild grasses growing on the road side, is from Police Head Quarter junction to Naga Hospital Colony where once the youth from my Mezoma village, by crossing two big villages of the Western Angami area, could clean/clear the jungles from the NSF Martyrs’ Park to TCP gate voluntarily which was a challenging but every year my village youths should not be expected to do so. Why not the Kohima District Administration/KMC organize a mass social works for the colony people or the town-dwellers/Government departments to clean up those areas in future also or even before the Angami Gazetted Officer Krotho (AGOK) have its sanitary social work as already decided on the 8th Nov. 2014 in its general conference at SIRD Conference Hall, Kohima.
With due apology I should mention that the dirtiest office complexes/premises in the heart of Kohima City are Nagaland Civil Secretariat premises and gate areas, KMC’s gate area, PHE Sub-Division, RMSA, Sub-Divisional Transport Office of Kohima and Phek, Wokha, Pensions Office, Kohima, National Disaster Management for State Agency Head Quarter, National Institute of Science and Environment, SBI Main Branch adjacent areas, RTO Office Compound adjacent to LCS Building, Ao Baptist Church, Kohima Local Ground (Khuochiezie) where the occupants of these departments have to immediately rush into action for sanitation and beautification of their respective office premises. Even the Traffic island or stand in the main junctions of the city are to be cleaned by removing the wild grasses around it. (Classic Club Island sign board at PR Hill junction should be repaired). At last I would again suggest that the KMC members/workers should have learnt a lesson from our neighboring State Capitals like Imphal/ Shillong/ Guwahati/ Aizwal/ Gangtok on study tour to such places but not to other mainland Indian or Foreign cities along without which innovative idea cannot come to this civic body (KMC) as I have suggested to the then Minister of Urban development in 2003. Where are the KMC sanitary Inspectors/Sweepers whether paid regularly after proper supervision of their works. Again I suggest that conducting a mass social work by the Kohima City dwellers once or twice in a year is not enough without keeping up the principle of sanitation throughout the year. As for the Department of School Education where I am the Jt. Director & Nodal Officer of sanitation after making wide publicity, could successfully conduct ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (clean India Campaign) in all its offices – Directorate/ Districts/ Sub-Division offices and both Government and Private schools throughout the State with one hour theory class on the importance of sanitation/ ecological balance/ beautification of their respective works places/ hand-washing stoppage of open defecation etc…. on the 24th Oct. 2014. Now, reports of this mass social works launched by the department on that day to create an awareness are keep on coming from all the districts with photographs, as an evaluation of the programme, being sought from them where Mokokchung District schools have been adjudged the best performance district followed by Wokha, Dimapur, Longleng. The department is going to take action against the defaulting district schools which could not conduct the said sanitation programme on that day.
Now, hats-off to the incumbent Deputy Commissioner of Kohima, Shri W. Honje Konyak (NCS), Shri Kovi Meyase (NCS) the new CEO of KMC for doing a yeomen and a herculean job in cleaning the town areas to some extend. As for a successful sanitary social work being initiated by the AGOK on the 22nd Nov. 2014 by involving volunteers of Angami Public Organisation (APO), Angami Youth Organisation (AYO), Angami Students’ Union (ASU), Angamimiapfü Mechü Krotho (AMK) and all the well wishers of Kohima City are requested to seriously do the works with proper distribution/demarcation:- Northern Angami Gazetted Officer Krotho (NAGOK) from IG Stadium gate to Local Ground, Southern Angami Gazetted Officers Krotho (SAGOK) from CRPF Camp Lerie to Local Ground, Western Angami Gazetted Officers Krotho (WAGOK) and Chakhro Angami Gazetted Officers Krotho (CAGOK) from Avilie’s Petrol Pump and below to the Local Ground and together the four units will do the works in and around the main city followed by feasting/refreshment.
3. Traffic Problem: I have published an article in local paper recently on the caption ‘my view on removal/demolition of the present over bridges and to be replace by a fly-over bridges from PR Hill to Kezieke suggested by someone which is not feasible at all at present to solve to present traffic jam problem where I even suggested for providing zebra-lines in the busy areas/junction for the safety of the pedestrians to cross the road from there only or educating the people to cross the road junctions through the present over-bridges for which the present steps to the said over-bridges be modified with a slopping position like Dimapur over-bridges or at railway station to walk conveniently. It was so surprising that way back in 2003 when I met the PWD (Traffic Division) to provide the zebra-lines in the main city, I got replied that there was no money to buy paints for such works. Where is the priority of that division not able to spend for such simple works?
(a) Another factor of traffic problem is parking of vehicles on both sides of the roads throughout the length and breadth of Kohima city where we have hardly one lane but due to this disorderly parking system by which 3 vehicles can never pass through at a time in the main roads and the worst is at the approach roads where fire brigade vehicles cannot reach the destinations in times fire hazards/accidents. Thus, the traffic police and the KMC parking tax-collectors should allow only one line vehicle parking on one side of the roads by keeping one side for free movement of vehicles. Now there is no excuse for traffic jam to attend offices/ programmes by starting to move out at home unlike the VVIPs occupying the whole road even by violating the traffic rules with an excuse to attend their duties.
(b) Now, festive mood has come more and more people will come to Kohima City for shopping and as suggested by me before, only three Min-buses should be allowed to halt at one at one Minibus to page. It means as and when three Mini Buses have come the first one has to move out even few passengers for they will get other passengers in the next bus stoppage, but in the absence of this system the way-side passengers are not getting their due seats even by paying their due fares and the worst is the Mini-Buses/KMC Buses are stranded in the bus stand like train bogies in the train stations causing even traffic jam in the main city. As for safety of the passengers and the drivers of mini buses, no children should be engaged by the Mini-bus owners/drivers because it is against the righty child labour law but to use matured/sensible conductors to see the welfare of the passengers and their drivers but not just for the passenger and their drivers but not just for collection of bus fares otherwise they should be called as bus fare collector but not conductor. Taxis and Min-Buses should not charge over-fare either on passenger or hire basis taking the advantage of festive season and the concerned department/authority should take all precautionary measures to check all these menaces from now onwards.
(c) Another safety measures for the passengers especially for ladies, gents should be allowed to sit on the right side of the mini buses and ladies on the left side like in other cities and even the children and old-aged passengers should be taken care of by the conductors and by other co-passengers. Remember, the Mini-buses and taxis are for public service but not only to get money which is unethical without giving proper care for their/passengers by the transport Department and the District Administration even to check pick-pocketing either on the Mini Buses or while walking through the streets or shopping.
4. Urban Development:
(a) Way back in 1975, I happened to interact with one Shri, S.B. Chetri who was then Chief Town Planner whose office was located in Chadmari Area, Kohima after observing no sign of Town planning in Kohima City and other district headquarters is of no use inspite of changing the nomenclature of the head planning of office. Now the nomenclature of this department has been changed into Urban Development Department and it would be very unfortunate with due apology if the same trend of town planning inspite of getting more resources and facilities of urban development but vey less signs/marks of two planning. Eg. The Development of Kohima city with proper road widening or new connection of approach roads or diversion of circular roads in order to ease the traffic jam even rope -ways wherever feasible even for tourist attraction by co-ordinating with other allied/concerned departments. I would suggest a new opening of approach road diversion road, so that the Lorry-trucks mostly Manipur Trucks do not pass through Kohima City or such over-loaded lories are checked from plain section of Dimapur so thatNH-29 is not blocked anywhere due to the selfishness of those truck owners/drivers knowing that the road capacity of the plain and hilly region is different. Our Govt. is so weak that private individuals are more powerful otherwise road widening at some strategic points could be possible within Kohima City to a radius of 15 kms from the main town and by any mean a sharp turning below Avilie’s Petrol Pump must be widened at the earliest by convincing or compensation the land-owners of the area.
(b) I have shared with my few simple/raw ideas for Kohima city’s welfare and I am sure you will have better ideas therefore together let us think/act cohesively to make it a better place to live is not forgetting plantation of trees and flowers for its beautification so that foreign tourists will no more call it like this, “Kohima is a beautiful girl without hair” which means there is no enough trees in Kohima City to stop soil erosion and to promote its beauty.
(c) I would also suggest that like in Shimla City of Himachal Pradesh where vehicles are parked at a certain places not allowing them to entering into the main city except vehicles of VVIPs/Traffic/ Ambulances where all the pedestrians have to walk on foot with their shopping materials to reach their vehicle parking areas. This system can be easily introduced in our capital city, Kohima right now.
I request the people of Daklane/New Market/Keziekie of Kohima City to give pressure to the concerned department to do black-topping of the approach road from Pezielietsie/Tin-Pati to Naga Hospital Road to prevent dust flying over whole Kohima City, with your reminder of the popular saying “Make hay while the sun shines” before Christmas Season.

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By EMN Updated: Nov 21, 2014 7:58:48 pm