Chief Minister Pema Khandu today expressed concern over rampant earth cutting in the twin capital cities of Itanagar and Naharlagun advocating a change in mindset of the citizens.
“Whenever I fly over the capital city, it pains me to see the hills being bulldozed, trees being cut all over. Why can’t we let the hills and greenery remain even while building houses?” Khandu wondered in his address during the first Foundation Day celebration of the Itanagar Municipal Corporation (IMC) here at the DK Convention Centre.
He drew attention to the practices followed by people in other hill states like Sikkim, where they design and build houses according to the terrain without resorting to massive earth cutting.
He said people of the state capital are in fact wasting huge amounts of money in earth cutting only, which escalates the cost of building a residence to maximum, sometimes beyond thought of.
The other problem of rampant earth cutting, Khandu pointed is that people do it in the winters and when summer comes with its rains, sand, gravel and mud from these sites are washed down blocking drains and damaging roads.
“And then they start blaming the government,” he said and advised IMC to create awareness amongst the citizens.
Khandu informed that several developmental projects for the state capital are in the pipeline to be executed under the IMC like smart street lights and proper drainage system in colonies. The hanging and haphazard electricity transmission lines that blots the beauty of the city will be removed and taken underground.
One major issue in the capital complex that needs urgent attention and solution, he said, is solid waste management.
“I am happy that IMC after visiting several waste management projects in other states have zeroed down on the best practices and have come up with a vision plan. Two solid waste management plants are to be developed- one for Naharlagun and one for Itanagar. We need to get these plants going urgently. Depending on their success, we plan to develop similar plants in the districts where waste management issue is no lesser,” Khandu said.
He further raised the problem of single-use plastic that poses serious threat to environmental pollution globally.
“Single use plastic needs a serious look. We plan to put in place a stringent policy in this regard and working on it. For short term practicality we cannot endanger our future, our planet,” he said.
Reminding IMC its role in development of the capital complex, Khandu said, “Itanagar is our face and we must further develop the vibrant city. On behalf of the state government I assure support and handholding to IMC in its journey towards transforming the city.
To a request by IMC for the chief minister’s intervention in resolving the issue of lack of proper coordination between IMC and government departments, he assured that he will take it up with concerned authorities.
Few other issues flagged by Khandu that IMC needs to look into include traffic congestion, parking spaces, regularization and demarcation of weekly haats, etc.
The event was also attended by MLAs Tana Hali Tara and Hayeng Mangfi, IMC Mayor Tame Phassang, Corporators, IMC officials and other guests.