Aim for cleaner, greener cities

Meghalaya today proposed to launch a comprehensive project to make cities and towns more "liveable" while enlisting the ventures to be undertaken for promoting Destination Meghalaya brand.

By Andrew W. Lyngdoh in Shilong
  • Published 19.03.15

Shillong, March 18: Meghalaya today proposed to launch a comprehensive project to make cities and towns more "liveable" while enlisting the ventures to be undertaken for promoting Destination Meghalaya brand.

While presenting the budget estimates for 2015-16, chief minister Mukul Sangma proposed to launch a cross-departmental effort at making cities and towns more liveable.

"Cities and towns provide opportunities and jobs. However, our cities and towns are increasingly becoming a byword for traffic congestion, high concrete structures and shortage of space," he said.

The cross-departmental effort includes funds for setting up of parking bays for road safety, incorporating embarkation and disembarkation points, Wifi network, preparation of projects for mass transit system, extension of solid waste management solutions, clean drinking water, traffic decongestion solutions and safe and secure environment.

"Departments will be encouraged to work in convergence mode and additional funds have been provided for this purpose, starting with approvals for two lay-byes between Umiam and Shillong and one each on NH 44 and NH 51. These will help in enforcement of rules and regulations relating to road safety as well as in pollution control," Sangma, who also holds the finance portfolio, stated.

Moreover, the chief minister said his government has already announced Destination Meghalaya as a comprehensive and convergent approach to development.

"Destination Meghalaya encompasses a cogent strategy of government investments as well as facilitating private partnership in education, health, tourism and industry, including information technology," he said.

The first facet of Destination Meghalaya, he said, relates to education and health while the second facet will be the government's focus on tourism. The third, he said, would include encouraging investments in industry and information technology by creating a congenial environment.

Speaking on Mission Green and the Green Economy, he said the state's green cover is under increasing pressure and water shortage is endemic in winter in a state that holds the record for the highest rainfall in the world.

"Mission Green is more than just restoring green cover. It is designed to link sustainable livelihoods to sustainable ecology," Sangma said.

Starting with the launch of programmes such as green volunteers and awards for clean and green villages, he said the government has now set aside funds for additional interventions. These include Green Technology Centre, a programme for promotion of sustainable livelihoods through ecological sustainability, funds for clean energy, bringing new areas under agro-forestry, sustainable and organic agriculture and catchment protection.

On direct benefit transfer (DBT), Aadhaar and National Population Register (NPR), he said the DBT programme has already started in the state.

"Beneficiaries now receive payments from government directly into their bank accounts for many social security benefits, scholarships, cooking gas subsidy etc," he said.

On NPR and Aadhaar, he said, "Nationally, a clear move towards the next level of reforms is already under way through the NPR and Aadhaar. Meghalaya cannot afford to be left behind and lose its share of central transfers on this account. Some groups and individuals have expressed certain concerns. The government is ready to hear them and allay their apprehensions and make changes where required."