Many letters were published in The Shillong Times and other newspapers and there was endless discussion of the growing traffic problems and shortage of car parks in the capital city of Shillong. As discussions and deliberations continue, an unpleasant “change of use” is taking place in the few parking spaces that have been created in previous years. All of these car parks were previously built by the Department of Urban Affairs to deal with the on-street parking that was rampant in the city.
Things are changing for the worse today. Take the example of the parking space that was created in Dhankheti. Today more of the parking lot has been taken up by shops and very little space is left for parking. In the car park opposite the main branch of the State Bank of India, new stores are added almost every month. In the end, if the powers that be get their way, there will be no more space to park. Two years ago, there were only three or four stores in this parking lot. Today, shops have settled all along the border. Even now, the construction of new stores seems to be underway. No consideration for the structural safety of the building or how it affects public and vehicular traffic or where the liquid discharge goes. We will dread going into the basement. It looks more like a den of criminals.
Take the case of the parking space near Mahavir Park, you have to see it to believe it. For the namesake, public toilets have been built but the use is more commercial in nature. In fact, it looks like a store selling groceries inside the toilet. A few dilapidated looking shops have also been built right in the middle and God knows for what purpose. The same goes for the car parks at Khlieh Iewduh, opposite Anjalee Cinema, Mawlong Hat and other car parks, all of which are gradually being converted to commercial use. Nobody can guess how such a “change of use” occurs and how the authorities concerned turn a blind eye.
There had always been a demand to convert parking lots into shops in the hope of creating jobs, but common sense had prevailed before. Now, however, it appears to be a different story. There seems to be no objection from anywhere to such actions which run counter to the public interest. It’s more like a complete surrender to the powers that be by the relevant departments resulting in a free-for-all. If the government of the day has not learned from the experience of the shopping complex in the parking lot of Police Bazar and still wants to continue the failed job creation policy by building shops everywhere, it may very well do the same in the New Shillong area instead of destroying the limited infrastructure available in the city today.
In case the government of the day has a sense of responsibility towards its citizens and cares about the future of the town, it would do well to remove all encroachments from public places in Shillong and instead create other opportunities in New Shillong which appears to be developing into another government township with no provision for the public.
Pathetic road conditions in Upper Shillong
Through your newspaper, I would like to raise a serious complaint about the pitiful and extremely bad condition of certain sections of the Shillong-Milliem-Nongstoin road. One part is at Sawmer, Upper Shillong, and the other part is near the trijunction area at Hynniewmer (just before reaching the junction point from Shillong to Mylliem or Nongstoin), which has caused huge inconvenience to commuters daily life and which is also dangerous for vehicles. fold over. These particular stretches of the road are full of potholes and are rough terrain. During the rainy season, these portions are flooded and cause huge passage problems. The fact that these are on a national road is another very disappointing fact.
By this letter, we, the citizens, demand that the PWD Roads (National Highway Division) or other relevant central/state road department immediately initiate repairs to the roads, failing which the concerned citizens will be forced to address to the High Court. We also urge the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Shillong, to follow this issue closely.
Despair of those affected by the floods
Flood-affected Barak Valley passengers in Assam have been without proper rail and road connection for weeks. The union and state governments know that for an essential flight requiring 25 to 28 minutes between Guwahati and Silchar, private airlines charge Rs 6,200 to Rs 24,000 per passenger for a one-way trip. For a very limited short period, the Chief Minister of Assam arranged special low cost flights, but this facility is no longer available today.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation, PMO, CM (Assam) and the administration are just spectators. This is an indirect support to the operation by different airlines at a time when the situation warrants frequent low cost flights between the Guwahati-Silchar and Kolkata-Silchar sectors.
We call on the government to intervene strictly in the matter to bring the cost down to Rs 4000 for the short flight between Silchar-Guwahati until regular trains are restored. A similar action is requested for air tickets between Silchar and Kolkata on the same grounds. Additional flights in both sectors are essential to alleviate public suffering under the Act East policy of the Government of India and the Ministry of Development of the North East Region (MDoNER).
Your kind urgent intervention is requested.
Professor Dilip Kumar Dey
Pro-active Senior Citizens’ Forum, (An apolitical organization of senior citizens)