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CIDF schemes fail to identify critical infrastructure deficiencies in N Lakhimpur
Farhana Ahmed
 NORTH LAKHIMPUR, May 13 - The schemes and plans made by Lakhimpur district administration for City Infra Development Fund (CIDF) appear to be flawed with impractical settings and unclear sites.

The Lakhimpur district authority has already taken up 21 different plans for the development of North Lakhimpur town under the CIDF without considering the basic infrastructural problems plaguing the public. North Lakhimpur town has no drainage system; no full and inter-linked pavements besides non-existence of parallel roads to connect the district headquarters with the surrounding areas. The town badly needs more roads for smooth flow of ever increasing vehicular traffic and broadening of the existing roads. However, the 21 plans selected for CIDF work do not include a single road project.

Instead of planning for the expansion of the town with more roads and alternative connectivity, the Lakhimpur district authority has made plans on existing infrastructure repeatedly. For example the district administration has planned development of a modern market at the backside of PWD Dak Banglow with a parking facility worth Rs 11 crore along with another project of development of Town Club with lodging facility, conference hall and gymkhana club worth Rs 6 crore on the same plot of land. Similarly, the project of development of a vegetable market with parking facility near existing daily market in Ward No. 9 worth Rs 8 crore is mere repetition of the same which already exists.

North Lakhimpur town has been affected severely by the lack of any waste management system and the plan taken up for CIDF work for the construction of a Solid Waste Management facility worth Rs 2 crore does not specify the place. Similarly, the swimming pool project costing Rs 2 crore also does not specify where it would be set up. A Rs 1 crore project for the development of a tennis court in North Lakhimpur also mentions no specific place. Interestingly, the implementing agency for the development of the tennis court is given to PWD (Building) instead of to any sports authority. The 21 projects selected for North Lakhimpur does not include the incomplete NL Indoor Stadium and the long earmarked outdoor stadium at Chanmari on NH-15 bypass.

Disproportionate amount of money is being earmarked or projects on several existing sites like the beautification of three ponds (Rs 4 crore) and again separately for another pond along with the development of the District Library (Rs 2.5 crore).

The striking point of all the project works for the CIDF works in North Lakhimpur is the construction of a multi-purpose Town Hall in Tyagkshetra costing Rs 18 crore. Tyagkshetra, an open space with a permanent stage in North Lakhimpur town is a regular venue of many state and public events. The scheme for a Housing Colony under Slum Development Programme in convergence with PMAY (Urban) in Ward No 13 of North Lakhimpur worth Rs 4 crore under Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavenging and their Rehabilitation Act-2013 is also placed in the already existing infrastructure.

In a sense, the schemes selected by Lakhimpur district authority for the development of North Lakhimpur town under CIDF project lack proper planning and assessments ignoring the most basic infrastructure needs and civic amenities affecting the district headquarters. The schemes have failed to identify the critical city infrastructure deficiencies in North Lakhimpur with active public participation.

It may be mentioned that the Assam government has launched the ‘City Infra Development Fund (CIDF)’ for the development of 17 major towns in the State by improving the urban infrastructure to ensure balanced regional growth under State Own Priority Development (SOPD). Out of this, during 2017-18 six major towns namely Silchar, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Nagaon and Tezpur whose population is more than one lakh. North Lakhimpur along with Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Karimganj, Goalpara, Sivasagar, Barpeta and Golaghat, another eight towns that have been covered during 2018-19 under this scheme with the population above 40,000. The Assam government will provide an amount of Rs 200 crore to cities with more than one lakh population within four years and an amount of Rs 100 crore to cities with more than 40,000 population within three years.

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