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IMPHAL: Public suggestions on up-gradation of Imphal City to Smart City have already been collected, compiled and submitted to the concerned Union Ministry as directed upon by the Ministry to submit it before December 15. Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who is also the in-charge of MAHUD said this replying to a calling attention motion raised by MLA Dr I Ibohalbi Singh on the need to provide a transparent, inclusive, sensitive plan in the up-gradation of Imphal City to a Smart City.
The Retrofitting model seems to be more appropriate for us and has submitted a model based on it, the Chief Minister said. Explaining further the Chief Minister who is also the leader of the House said the State's Smart City proposal submitted is an area based development model. There are three models of area based development: retrofitting, redevelopment and Greenfield, he said.
He said the retrofitting model requires more than 250 acres of existing built-up area and the idea is to make the area more efficient and livable. The redevelopment model is about replacing existing built-up environment in an area of more than 50 acres and enable co-creation of a new layout. If we do this in Imphal municipal areas it is not going to be an easy task, the CM told the House.
In the Greenfield model, it will develop a previously vacant area of more than 250 acres using innovation planning, plan financing and plan implementation tools with provision for affordable housing especially for the poor, the CM said adding that finding a vacant area of 250 acres in Imphal is not an easy task. The second model also does not seem practical so we find the retrofitting model more appropriate for us, the Chief Minister said.
Further in his reply he said the retrofitting model is more appropriate for us, and the area covered by the Thangal Bazaar, Paona Bazar, Kangla fort upto Khongnang Ani Karak including the entire DM College campus is a little more than 500 acres. There might be some complication here at the Alu Gali – Rajen Dresses to Dhramala road stretch which needs widening, he added. The government will have to pay a huge compensation when acquiring land during the necessary road widening in the area, he added.
The power sector, solid waste management, energy management, water supply and water management are all major components of a smart city and the present government has been giving top priority to improve the power sector among other sectors in the State, he said. The Chief Minister said the State government had already taken up works on several of the major components of a Smart City even before the project was announced.
He elaborated, the State government had already started using Ab cable for prevention of power theft and also installation of pre-paid meters for proper management of power. Solid waste management is one of the major components of a Smart City and with assistance from Lamshang MLA W Brajabidhu, the State government had acquired a little more than 80 acres of land at Lamdeng around 7-8 years ago for the Lamdeng Solid-waste Management and it is almost ready for commission, the Chief Minister said.
The first phase of the Sewage system in Imphal city is targeted to commission during March next year, he added. Water scarcity is a problem all over the world so for metering of water supply we have already started to work on it, he added. The major issue is the funding for the Smart City plan which follows a 50:50 pattern, he said elaborating that the Centre will provide only 50 percent of the fund and the State will have to manage the remaining.
We don't have the money, he said continuing that we find it very hard to even contribute the 10 percent for the Centrally sponsored schemes like SSA, RBDGY, Midday Meal, MGNREGS, NEC, etc. Rs 1000 crore is not enough to buy the components for these schemes to last even for a year, he added.
However we cannot loss hope at just the beginning. We must carry on anyhow. Getting fund from the centre is not an easy process, the Chief Minister said. The road widening process of Keisampat to Malom Airport cost more than Rs 150 crore including the compensation paid to the affected landowners, but the State government did this on its own as we know that if we wait for Central fund nothing will progress.
The same case is also with the Sanjenthong, he said. All these have been done from the State fund, he added. Re-organising names of localities like Nagaram, Meitei Leikai, Muslim Leikai, etc sector wise as Sector 1, 2, 3 has been suggested by many others. It is a good suggestion so we will discuss it, the Chief Minister also said.
Imphal Municipality and MAHUD and other concern departments are working hard with co-ordination to make this mission successful, he said adding that we are also aware that the IMC is very weak at the moment, however when the need comes we will surely look into it.