Nagaland vision document seeks to develop smart, safe cities

Kohima, Aug 29 (PTI) The Nagaland government has decided to develop smart, safe and sustainable urban centres and communities with high-quality basic services, according to a vision document of the state administration.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio recently unveiled the Nagaland SDG Vision 2030 – Leaving no one behind . It provides short, medium and long term strategies to achieve 17 sustainable development goals (SDG), including sustainable cities and communities.

The vision document said that the process of urbanisation has failed to take place evenly throughout the state as urban growth has been concentrated mostly in the key towns of Kohima and Dimapur.

The urban settlers are faced with the problems of finding employment and livelihood opportunities.

The towns and cities of the state face significant long-term challenges such as abnormal demographic change, climate change, lack of basic amenities including shortage of housing and lack of economic activities such as industries.

The issue of urban poverty is emerging as another complex phenomenon due to lack of access to basic services, employment and housing, it said.

Availability of land for development activity is the biggest challenge, the document said adding that in most cases, projects are delayed leading to escalation of cost while in many instances works are delayed due to litigation related to land.

So far master plans and development plans could not be implemented due to land issues, the document said.

It also stated that urban governance in Nagaland is a relatively recent phenomenon.

As such, unlike the rural areas in the State which have robust governance in place, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are struggling to provide a stable governance structure, it said.

Nagaland has three municipal councils and 36 town councils while the first election to the ULBs was held in 2004 following provisions of the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001.

Elections could not be held thereafter due to issues related to 33 per cent reservation to women and there is no elected body in place which is adversely affecting the urban governance, it said.

The state government has planned to make cities and settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030, as per the vision document.

At present, development and growth of many small towns and settlements have generally been precipitated only as a consequence of other activities such as construction of new roads, establishment of administrative headquarters or taking up special projects, it said.

Such growth has created gaps at various levels and it is therefore imperative to address the existing issues through holistic strategies, the document said.

However, unless a democratically elected body is in place, it is difficult to truly empower the ULBs for which sincere effort must be made to hold municipal polls at the earliest, it said.

According to the document, the state government also seeks to cover all 39 ULBs with septage and waste management and provide 100 per cent individual toilet coverage and adequate public or community toilets, and 100 per cent coverage of hospitals with bio-medical waste segregation.