Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu expressed concern over rampant earth-cutting in the twin capital cities of Itanagar and Naharlagun, advocating a change in the mindset of citizens.
“Whenever I fly over the capital city, it pains me to see the hills being bulldosed and trees being cut all over. Why can’t we let the hills and greenery remain even while building houses?” Pema Khandu said this in his address during the first Foundation Day celebration of the Itanagar Municipal Corporation (IMC) at the DK Convention Centre in Itanagar on January 29. 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.
“People in the State capital are wasting huge amounts of money on earth-cutting only, which escalates the cost of building a residence to its maximum, sometimes beyond thought. The other problem is rampant earth cutting,” Pema Khandu said.
Pema Khandu pointed out that people do it in the winter, 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. He advised the IMC to create awareness among the citizens.
Pema 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 systems in colonies. The hanging and haphazard electricity transmission lines that blot out the beauty of the city will be removed and taken underground. One major issue in the capital complex that needs urgent attention and a solution, he said, is solid waste management.
“I am happy that IMC, after visiting several waste management projects in other States, has zeroed in on the best practices and 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 issues are no lesser,” Pema Khandu said. He further raised the problem of single-use plastic, which poses a 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 are working on it. For short-term practicality, we cannot endanger our future or our planet,” he said.
Reminding IMC of its role in the development of the capital complex, Pema 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.”
In response 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 would take it up with concerned authorities.
A few other issues flagged by Pema Khandu that IMC needs to look into include traffic congestion, parking spaces, regularisation 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.
(with inputs from ANI)