Tripura now focuses on development of ULBs and 7 district headquarters, Rs 200 crore from 15th Finance Commission for 7 district headquarters

By our Correspondent

What are the various projects running under the Urban Development Department of Tripura and what are the benefits that people can get out of it? 

Under the Urban Development Department a range of projects are running including NULM and PMAWY. Apart from that the smart city component also has its part to play. Now under the grants of 15th finance commission, the state government has received Rs 200 crore grants for infrastructure development of seven district headquarters (excluding Agartala). The planning is under progress as to how the infrastructure like drainages, drinking water, basic amenities, drinking water street lights, sewerage etcetera are going to be placed. Expectedly, by the end of May, the physical work in this regard will begin and by the end of this year visible changes will come into being. Apart from that, an ABD project is also sanctioned for similar infrastructure developments in the 19 Urban local bodies out of Agartala Municipal Corporation. 

How these projects are going to improve the standard of living of the people? 

Recently in the ease of living index Agartala scored the rank of 11 in the national level having population less than 10 lakhs. The multi-prong efforts being taken by both the state and central government projects have left a dramatic impact in improving people living standards in Agartala. Works that had been done in the fields like Traffic, transportation and sewerage management, street lights all these are going to make a significant impact on the quality of life of the people living under urban local bodies. At the same time, government of India’s focus is on housing for all and in Tripura we have already provided 40,000 houses and we have received the first award in the North Easter category at the national level. Moreover, remaining houses are being built. In next two to three years, the quality of life is going to improve a lot with the initiatives of central and state governments. 

We have seen that a lot of waste is being produced in the cities, specifically, in Agartala the markets are producing huge waste. What are the interventions of UD department to resolve this issue? 

We have started construction of tertiary centers, secondary centers as well as house to house collection of solid waste with the help of Self help groups. We are targeting Self Help Groups mainly. We have provided them with free equipments, we will also provide them with E-carts so that they can easily collect the waste. After that they will be directed to bring that waste to the secondary centers. In the secondary centers there will be segregation of waste and the organic waste will go to the tertiary centers. Already we have finalized 14 sites for the tertiary centers and four locations are identified and tender process is underway. Hopefully, by the end of this year, 18 tertiary centers and at least 71 secondary centers will be functional. Right now, 31 secondary centers are functional and remaining will be functional by the end of this year. We are hopeful that significant changes will be taking place by the end of this year. Apart from that, we are also organizing various activities to create behavioral changes. Lot of awareness is being spread, fines are being also imposed and in addition a beautification drive has been also carried out throughout the city. A total of 2 lakh square feet paintings were drawn on the walls of Agartala city, Hoardings had been placed, Nukkar Nataks were staged and women volunteers of SHGs were pressed into action for this cause too. 

Are these activities spread across 19 Urban Local Bodies? 

Yes across 20 Urban Local Bodies across the state. 

What are the new engineering interventions that were included under the UD department ? 

Agartala is one of the six sights that had been chosen by the government of India under the leadership of the Honorable Prime Minister for the lighthouse project. The LightHouse project’s foundation stone was laid on January 1, 2021 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The work has already commenced. In that light house projects there supposed to be six towers with 1,000 flats for EWS (Economically Weaker Class upto Rs 3 lakh income) and Low Income Groups (income between 4 to six lakhs) category of people. Those families that were not benefitted by the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana they can apply. People have started submitting applications. The physical works is being monitored by the BMTPC, the agency of government of India. The testing of the pile foundation had been already completed and in next one month around 1,600 piles are going to be laid and after that the foundation process would be completed. They are supposed to complete the work within one yaer and we are hopeful that work would be completed in time because all the clearances had been given from the UD department. 

Flood had been a perennial problem for the City, last few years the problems had reduced a bit. What are the initiatives to tackle this problem? 

Under the Smart City Mission, a lot of work is going on. In the previous years like 2016, 2017 and even in the beginning of 2018,  the city used to be flooded affecting normal life badly and there were problems with water retention. But the scenario had changed. Some high power pumps had been installed for smooth evacuation of water. CCTVs had been installed, under the monitoring of AMC, a little flood was seen last year. Hopefully within the next few years, the entire problem would be tackled. 

What are the numbers so far as far as the Awas Yojana Houses and community toilets are concerned? 

Our housing for all targets is 80,000 houses and till 5th DPR we have already completed 40,000 houses. In terms of completion we are first in the North East. At the same time, 15,000 houses are being constructed right now (under progress). Expecting that b y March 31, these 15,000 houses will also be completed. So 65,000 houses are going to be completed by March 31, 2021 and in addition we have also given approval in the fourth as well as fifth DPR, so whatever target is given under 80,000 housing for all end of 2022 the target will be completed. 

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, we have received funds from IHLL as well as CTPC. Recently, we have taken initiative that all the Community toilets as well as basic toilets would be upgraded as per ODF-plus standard. The baseline assessment is already over and we have given the ULBs  aterget of completing the whole renovation and upgradation  work should be completed within seven days. So the “seven days” challenge is going on already works have started. The funds under swachh Bharat Mission and 15th Finance Commission are lying with the ULBs and they are utilizing it. 

What is the ODF-plus standard if you explain in brief? 

ODF-plus is a must advanced version of the Open Defecation Free certificate that was given to us in the year 2018-19. In ODF-plus, in addition to the IHLL toilets and community toilets, Urinals have been included, aspirational toilets are being monitored along with IC activities