SHILLONG, Aug 30 - Shillong is in the Centre�s list of 98 Smart Cities. However, the Meghalaya Government faces a Herculean task ahead to implement the project, considering the difficulty in implementing the building bye-laws here.
There has been opposition from several quarters in the State Capital against the Congress-led coalition Government�s new building bye-laws. The guidelines were framed to minimise risk of high rise buildings, as the State falls in a high seismic zone.
Apart from some Opposition parties, even Congress legislators are opposing it arguing the bye-laws mustn�t be implemented in Scheduled areas. The District Councils are the nodal agencies to frame guidelines in these areas, if any, they argue.
Leading the opposition is Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council chief from the Congress, PN Syiem. He is a Member of the District Council as well as the State Assembly. In fact, Syiem dropped hints of taking legal action, if the Government doesn�t withdraw the building bye-laws from Scheduled areas.
Government Chief Whip, Ronnie V Lyngdoh has also voiced his opposition for bringing one of the areas in his constituency, Mylliem, under the building bye-laws.
�Oppositions have to be handled. We are talking about safety of human lives and urban planning,� Chief Secretary PBO Warjri told The Assam Tribune, when asked about the challenges ahead to implement the Smart City project.
The Smart City project once implemented would overhaul most of the British-era drainage systems, roads and try build new infrastructure for efficient water, electricity supply, waste management and requisites associated with a modern growing city. These would, however, require land.
But, except for few pockets in the State Capital like the European Ward and Cantonment Board, rest of the places are Scheduled areas. However, Nongthymmai, Nongmynsong, Pynthorumkhrah, Mawpat, Mawlai, Umlyngka, Lawsohtun, Umpling, Madanriting and Nongkseh have been included within the purview of the building bye-laws.