Guwahati, Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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Hurdles in expansion of Shillong cited
Raju Das
 SHILLONG, April 9 – The “multiplicity of authorities and prevailing land tenure system” in Meghalaya are the major hurdles to expand Shillong township and ease it from the present congestion, the Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh today said.

 Replying to a motion in the Assembly, moved by Jemino Mawthoh of the United Democratic Party, on congestion in the state capital, Lyngdoh said that the department’s effort to implement the Master plan to develop Shillong, as well as Tura in West Garo Hills district and Jowai in Jaintia Hills district has become a challenge.

“Due to multiplicity of authorities and the prevailing land ownership system, implementation and enforcement of the Master Plan is a challenge,” she told the House.

In most of the towns, she said, the administration is vested in the town durbars or local durbars, especially in the Shillong urban agglomeration. This has led to duplicity in administration, she said.

Moreover, the state land tenure system, wherein the land is owned by the people or clans has also lead to hurdles in acquiring land by the Government to implement the Master Plan to develop these towns.

On the urban transportation system, she said the private players form the major chunk of the transportation system. “The role of public transport is limited because of inadequate road network, poor infrastructure and scattered demand,” she said.

The Minster admitted due to poor transportation facility in these urban centres, the general public has been forced to commute after paying exorbitant prices, besides being harassed.

Despite the constraint the Government is trying to expand the Shillong Township by building satellite towns around it. In this regard a Master Plan has envisaged building a “New Shillong Township” at Mawdiangdiang.

The new Shillong Township envisages accommodating a population of 2 lakh and so far 370.26 hectares of land has been acquired at a cost of Rs. 33.73 crore for the project.

“The Urban affairs department is contemplating acquisition of another 1200 hectares of additional land for the project for provisions of infrastructure, housing, commercial, institutional, administrative and recreational uses,” she told the House.

The other initiative the Government is adopting to ease congestion, Lyngdoh said, is by stringent enforcement of the Meghalaya Building Bye Law, 2011. Under the Act it has been made compulsory for buildings having more than two floors to have parking space.

The Government is also trying to widen existing roads and construct more parking lots. “The Government is also trying to construct flyovers and we are trying to acquire land from the cantonment board and other areas,” she told the House.

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