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Govt to spend Rs 2,500 cr on new administrative city

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SHILLONG, Feb 7: The state government is spending a whopping Rs 2,500 crore on development of infrastructure like roads, water supply, and buildings in New Shillong Township.
Disclosing this on Wednesday, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma outlined the government’s intention to relocate the Secretariat before the end of the current term, with other department buildings to follow gradually.
Sangma mentioned that he recently presented designs of the administrative city to the Cabinet for approval. Once approved, the government aims to commence tendering works after the detailed project reports (DPRs) are finalised by the end of the second quarter of 2024-2025, he said.
Sangma said the objective of shifting the administration to NST is to centralise governance and services for public convenience, enabling access to various services in one location.
The chief minister emphasised that the government is working on a comprehensive plan to improve living conditions in Shillong, focusing on both short-term and long-term strategies.
“We have a larger and a bigger plan for the city and we are working on a long-term, medium-term and short-term kind of a roadmap to see how we can improve the overall living conditions in Shillong. These projects will lead to decongestion of Shillong,” he added.
‘River development and cleaning to go hand in hand’
Stressing on the underlying need for cleaning the Wah Umkhrah and Wah Umshyrpi, Sangma said the central government has rejected a river-cleaning proposal made by the state due to the high cost estimate, and asked the state government to revisit the same.
“The state government is in the process of doing so,” he said after laying the foundation stone of the Wah Umkhrah Riverfront Development Project on Wednesday.
The Rs 39-crore project, which will be put out for tender within weeks, is aimed at giving a facelift to Shillong.
Additionally, the state government is looking to develop more parking spaces for which it is sourcing land from various departments, including the Shillong Cantonment Board.
“Construction of the Shillong Skywalk project would have lead to more traffic jams. That is why we have put it on hold until we find a way out,” he said.
He made it clear that developing and maintaining the river are two different things. “We realize that in addition to the riverfront development, the river itself needs to be protected and kept clean. Hence, both the projects will go hand in hand, and we will ensure we are able to clean the rivers,” he said.
Asserting that the riverfront will be meaningless without the river, the chief minister urged the support, cooperation, and participation of the community. “Until and unless the community comes along and supports and works to ensure that we are not polluting the river at the source itself, all the efforts will just go flat. The reason why we are calling you today is to share with you that we need your support,” he said.
The CM also announced that the government will set aside a day every three months for organising cleaning drives in various localities.
“We will conduct cleaning drives in our respective localities. The government and the Urban Affairs department will fund these drives,” he declared while asking the East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner to fix a date for the cleaning drive right after the Assembly’s budget session.
Urban Affairs Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, Fisheries Minister AL Hek, outgoing East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner RM Kurbah and CEO of Shillong Municipal Board PK Boro were present on the occasion.

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