The spurt of Road development in Kohima and the ultimate finish with well designed zebras, dividers and borders is a pleasant sight and quite a notable change. According to my observation, the quality of work and workmanship are also commendable. Good workmanship gives an overall good aesthetic sense to the job. The PDA Government, the concerned Minister and the Department and not forgetting the contractors are sincerely appreciated. Though the recent pre-monsoon rains have shown that more effort is required to provide better drainage. Durability of roads is proportionately related to good drainage system.
Kohima City is slowly turning into a city that it ought to be. During the last 15 years or so, the landscape particularly the buildings have seen a wave change. One feels happy to note that, it is a reflection of growing economy of the people. It is also encouraging that, now local people run most of the commercial establishments in Kohima. Given that there is already saturation of jobs in the Government sector, business offers good avenue for the youths. There is room for both the uneducated and the educated as well, each according to his will, commitment and of course, capability. Let us remember that business is not just groceries and car-decoras.
Having thus said about Kohima, more civic efforts need to be done both by the Government of the day and the public at large. Given opportunity, among the NE State Capitals, I would give my prize to Shillong City for cleanliness. I will come back to my Shillong story later. Now, Talking about Kohima again, I remember a conversation with a friend who said, “Kohima to soob Naga lakkaaseto, Angamimanu khan lakka hi nahoe. Naga manu khan lakka Capital aseto”! Rightly said in a sense but, let us all appreciate the large heartedness of the Angamis in accommodating Nagas of all tribes. True to what Methanielie sang in his song “Kohima City Koribole”, all of us, of whatever hue and color we might be made up of – phutani, chalak, chakara or style wallas, staying temporaily or permanently in Kohima are responsible to make the capital of ours the best among the NE cities. Areas where we can easily start is to have respect for public and private properties and cleanliness. Cleanliness is the most important attributes of civilized living! Our increasing dependence on manufacturing sector has created a mess of our surroundings. Packagings are made to be attractive to lure customers but, once we shell out what we need the rest becomes a history of our mess. We don’t have any compunction or sense in throwing our plastics, wrappings, pet-bottles waste and many more such items anywhere and everywhere. Our streets, our drains, our nullahs and rivulets will all tell this story. They are littered with you know what even old shoes, umbrellas and now electronic wastes. It is a real sore in the eyes! It is not just about Kohima but, it is the same all over Nagaland!
By the way, the more I talk about Kohima, the more the tribal blood oozes. Being a Lotha my mind naturally wanders off to Wokha Town, of how things are out there. I am not beingtribalistic here, but, I want to corridor to be also as good as Kohima. Even recently, an amount of Rs. 25 Lakhs earmarked under SDRF for Wokha Town was diverted to another place. May be because Wokha Town is manned by an opposition MLA! Poor infrastructure particularly the roads, low cost buildings,an evidence of poor economy, dominates the scenery (Land of Plenty Huh!). This is the reflection of the picture of Wokha Town is. I call it rustic township, Alas! Hopefully Smart Town that is the talk of the town will bring the desired change.
Anyway, enough of lamenting and let le come back to my Shillong story. Friends from Shillong visiting Doyanglake were dumbfounded by the amount of waste littered around. They said, ‘You have such a wonderful area and why do your people litter it with waste”. Thinking of clean Barapani, I guess, they have justification and sense in saying so! Anyway, during one of my visits to Shillong, over dinner, I asked one of these friends as to how they manage to keep Shillong so clean. She narrated a long story which I present below. I call it Shillong Model (for cleanliness).
Shillong the capital of Meghalaya is probably the cleanest city among the cities of sister states of NE and may be in India too. Littering is literally a taboo in Shillong. Readers are aware that Mawlynong Village in Meghalaya is noted for being the cleanest Village in Asia. In Shillong, locality Headmen maintains a registry of all residents. Every locality is divided into blocks and two residents are given charge of these blocks. Block wise registry is maintained by them. For pick-up and disposal of waste, the Municipal provides pick-up vans to the localities. Every Household pays Rs. 100/- per month formaintenance of the van and salary of the driver etc. If residents fail to pay garbage fee on time, their names are announced in the locality’s public address system. If they still do not pay up, police is informed who will take action according to Law. The treasurer of the locality is responsible for collection of fees. He sits in the Community Hall or a designated place from 8 – 10 am from 1st to 10th of every month for collection of fees. He is paid Rs. 3500/month for the purpose.
All residents are given two garbage buckets , one blue and one green. Normally they do not construct garbage collection bins as the attract animals invariably dogs who ravages the garbage causing odorous littering. They also attract flies and provide the a good breeding ground causing additional health hazards. Resident who do not collect buckets on time are made to purchase on their own. It is compulsory to have these buckets by everyone. Tenants shifting house or leaving the locality will have to leave the garbage buckets for future occupants. Biodegradable wastes are put in the green bucket and non-biodegradable waste is put in the blue bucket. No mixing of these waste are allowed. If it is found that a bucket contains mixed waste, the resident is asked to take it back for sorting without which it will not be accepted for disposal. Women groups take the initiative and the pains to oversee all these collections. The pick-up van collects Green and Blue garbage buckets on alternate days. The driver keeps a check on defaulters and if found, Women Organizations are informed who does the needful. Invariably residents who fail to will be asked to dump their own garbage in the common dumping site kilometers away at their own cost. Residents are also asked to clean area outside of their compounds and also to keep dustbins for passerby to throw garbage like plastics, wrappings etc. No domestic wastes are allowed to be thrown into these bins. People found littering are made to pick up their own mess. Vigilant women groups take responsibilities for these. Any defaulters in these arrangements are made to pay fines fixed for the purpose. This is how they keep Shillong city Clean. Are we listening? Don’t just listen, do practice and please pass on the information. Let us educate the needy in words and action!
As an adieu, Let me leave my readers a food for thought. Isn’t it funny that we call for mass social work often to clean up mess by our own self, instead of channeling the energy spent of beautification of out surroundings?
Dr. Chumben Murry
Opposition MLA (38 Wokha AC)
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