[ Taba Ajum ]
The recent incident of stealing of dustbins and parklets from various locations in Itanagar is shameful. In fact, the persons who committed the crime do not deserve to live in the capital complex. These words may sound harsh, but the time has come to act tough against those citizens who have made the capital complex an unpleasant place to live.
In the 1970s, when the indigenous people of the capital region decided to donate land free of cost for establishing the capital in the twin towns of Itanagar and Naharlagun, they did so with the hope that one day people who settled here would call it their home and take good care of the capital.
Unfortunately, for the majority of the people who reside here, Itanagar is just a place where they make careers and earn money. Even after spending years here, not many call it their home, and even today they say, “I am from Ziro, Kurung Kumey, Seppa, Namsai, Aalo, Pasighat, Roing, Tirap,” and so on.
The capital needs citizens who proudly declare themselves as citizens of Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa. Unless this sense of belongingness is developed, the capital complex will continue to remain just a place to make careers and earn money.
Because of the lack of love, there is rampant encroachment of government land. In some areas, even colony and sector roads have been encroached upon. The citizens have become so greedy that they are even creating trouble in construction of the Itanagar-Banderdewa four-lane road by refusing to comply with the RoW and filing cases in the court, thereby delaying the project.
On paper there is a massive investment of government fund in Itanagar, but the ground reality is different. Where does the money go? In fact, the highest number of duplicity in government projects takes place in the capital complex.
Recently, a young engineer friend writing in the Reader’s Forum column of this daily rightly pointed out that ‘the state needs engineers who love roads.’ The state capital truly needs officers who love roads and good infrastructure. There was hope that with the introduction of the municipal council things would change, but, sadly, the councillors and officials of the Itanagar Municipal Council have also bitterly failed us.
As to the locals, the so-called sons of the soil have miserably failed to take care of the capital; it is the outsiders, especially a few IAS officers, who have somehow managed to bring some much-needed changes.
In the last few years, some of the IAS officers posted as deputy commissioner of the capital complex have done a remarkable job, due to which Itanagar and Naharlagun are still somewhat livable. Now that Itanagar has been included under the smart city project, there will be an increase in central funding. It is to be hoped that the IMC and the district administration will use the funds properly.
Also, in order to develop the twin capital towns as a truly cosmopolitan city, the locals will have to play an important role. The capital city belongs to every Arunachalee, and the citizens residing here should proudly call it their home and be partners of development.