Meghalaya minister in-charge of Tourism

Shillong: The amount of Rs 2 crore approved for the “Beautification of Umiam View Point” is not sufficient, and as a result, the ministry of tourism has not taken up the project, tourism minister Sniawbhalang Dhar said in the Assembly.

The ministry is now looking at a different source for funding the project, Dhar added.

Dhar was responding to a question raised by Umroi MLA George Lyngdoh during the ongoing Budget Session. Dhar said the proposed amount for the project was Rs 7 crore, but the Ministry of Tribal Affairs had approved only Rs 2 crore.

“The approved amount is not sufficient to meet the proposal, and as the items of work are an inter-related and partial implementation of the scheme due to a shortfall in the sanctioned amount will not meet with the objective of this proposal, the scheme has not been taken up. The Department is now examining for a new source of funding for taking up the project,” informed Dhar.

Of the amount of Rs 7 crore, close to Rs 4 crore is needed for the steel-fabricated deck with staircase, Dhar said.

Dhar also informed that the allocation of Rs 2 crore had not been spent.

MLA George Lyngdoh suggested that since the amount is present with the government, they could consider investing in facilities like public utilities, parking space since it has become an eyesore to see people using and polluting the entire area around Ryndang Briew, Umiam. “Due to lack of public utilities and waste management system the entire stretch has become a menace. At night you will see people randomly parking in the area. So maybe, the government can install solar street lights,” suggested Lyngdoh.

Adding a supplementary question, Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma said that Umiam is a traffic bottleneck and was concerned if the Tourism department has had proper consultation with PWD before taking up this project and what is the setback kept from the middle of the road to take up this project.

“We are taking into consideration the traffic congestion and in consultation with the concerned department,” responded Dhar to the query.

Dr Mukul further emphasised that before taking up any program along this road, it was important for the department to know what is actual Right-of-way which is as per revenue records with the PWD.

“There are several infrastructure projects along the sides of the road, which I am afraid maybe encroachments. Keeping in mind our problem with traffic jams, I think it is important for the department to know this,” reiterated Dr Mukul.

AITC state president Charles Pyngrope also supported the Umroi MLA’s suggestion and stated that he found certain aspects of this project can be taken up, especially public conveniences, little landscaping, parking area and non-civil work, which comes to about Rs 94 lakhs.

“Will the minister consider having a discussion with an architect to prepare this drawing also ensuring that without affecting the entire project these few aspects of the project can be taken up,” suggested Pyngrope.

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