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Views & Reviews

Smart Nagas For a Smarter Nagaland

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By EMN Updated: May 26, 2016 12:44 am
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Many of us may have perceived a smart Kohima in the making, with our state capital rumoured to be amongst the list of cities considered for inclusion in the smart city project – Phase I. Disappointing though, yet visualizing our towns/cities in the present form, it would be inappropriate to graduate our longing for a smart city. Of course, taking into cognizance the attributes as deemed for qualifying. Nevertheless, when it comes to transforming our cities, must optimism rest solely on centre aided projects?
It has actually been long since some effort has been made to transform our towns/cities, except for minor facelift here and there, making towns look even more cramped. Our towns, as existing, are limited to congested vehicular lanes, ill organized outlets/markets, teeming hawkers and garbage heap all over. Road restricted for single vehicle use, by dint of span, are generally queued with parked cars making it a quite a task to maneuver pass – seemingly a test of one’s patience during times of peak traffic. Footpaths meant for pedestrian use are occupied by fruit and vegetable vendors, pan shops, junk food trolleys, overhang from existing shops exhibiting any and every product, etc, etc…. Just who is to blame? Neither do police feel duty-bound to keep pathways clear of the ever increasing business upstarts, nor are town committees bothered to earmark areas, that actually cater for bare minimum provisions, from where goods could be sold. So are many of us whose concern it is to simply get access to the nearest and cheapest, vendors irrespective. Somehow we are all equally involved……
New and trendy outfit does not imply that an individual is smart. Likewise neither are skyscrapers, metro facility, massive flyovers or mall culture a requisite to make our cities look smart. The key simply lies in maintaining them clean and green. It’s unacceptable that our homeland with its exceptional flora coverage is plantlets within the town premises. What greenery can do towards beautifying a town requires no elaboration. Parks and plantation therefore need to be planned for our towns/cities. Streets must be adequately lit and public facilities installed at desired locations. Incidentally, the need for proper disposal of waste, its recycling and leveling projects has assumed criticality following the Deonar (Mumbai) pollution frenzy triggered by burning of waste heap. Municipal Councils probably need to be more forthcoming in this regard.
Sadly no one wishes to part possession even if the ensuing benefit is of generic nature. Perhaps, it’s time the government takes note and if necessary carry out widening/expansion drive; town areas in particular. If certain individual objects despite compensation, ringleaders as there always will be, let befitting example be set out of them. After all there’s a greater cause to address. I am positive every sane person would cooperate???
Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative our honorable prime minister had recently spell out cleanest city honors. Our cities didn’t figure at the top but thankfully not at the bottom either. The quest now is for cleanest village based on varied sanitation parameters to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi; this in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But irrespective of whichever city or village figures at the bottom, does it actually matter?. .So what?.. Then what?… No one is going to get our cities cleaned for us, so does that mean status quo!!! Well, either we the residents wake up or get buried deeper in filth or probably live on with the ‘Less desirable’ tag. Occasionally we do come across conscious self-help groups, church bodies, NGOs, students union, women organizations etc. engaged in mass social work. Hats off to such genuine involvement, however, such momentary drive may not be enough unless cleanliness is upheld as a moral responsibility by all.
I am told of a certain village called Chunlika, a Rengma village, known for its conscious residents and that the village is kept par excellence as far as cleanliness go. I am certain the village has only to progress as cleanliness has become for the residents a habit and the remarkable parents and elders are responsibly guiding the younger ones. If Chunlika village is smart, it’s certainly because the residents are smart. Similarly, if Nagas choose to become smart, Nagaland will invariably become smart too. We Nagas have the right to choose for our home land the change it deserves but it’s now or never….
Vincent Patton
vinpatton@yahoo.co.in

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By EMN Updated: May 26, 2016 12:44:32 am