Haldwani: High on development, but basic infrastructure problems remain a worry
HALDWANI: Known as the gateway to the Kumaon region, Haldwani has a potential for development, however, lack of basic infrastructure and amenities have put a spanner on the road to growth.
Haldwani has seen the setting up of a slew of projects in the last four years, including an international cricket stadium, a proposed inter-state bus terminus and a world-class zoo in Golapar neighbourhood of the city.
On April 22, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced that Haldwani will get a ₹ 400 crore ring road project to ease traffic in the city and neighnouring towns, but the project is struck due to land acquisition wrangles.Though the proposed projects may have put Haldwani on the road to development, upgrading basic amenities and infrastructure will speed up growth of the region.
The solid waste management project in the city is yet to take off due to which solid waste is being disposed off in a temporary trenching ground. To make the matters worse, the city has been ranked 395th in the Swachh Bharat rankings among the 434 cities across the country.
Since 1 August, Haldwani is being burdened with garbage being dumped from Nainital at a city landfill. Haldwani mayor Jogendra Pal Singh Rautela said efforts were on to bring Haldwani up on the scale of cleanliness of Swachh Bharat ratings.
More than 80 metric tonne of garbage is dumped at the trenching ground of the city every day and now another 20 metric tonne of waste is being brought from Nainital, he said. He further said that e-toilets and underground dustbins installed to ensure cleanliness in the city.
Recently, the state government said 52 more villages will be added to the city area in Nagar Nigam, which will increase the total area of the city from 14 sq km to 58 sq km. This will add an additional 1.2 lakh people to the city 2 lakh population within the Municipal Corporation limits.
Gram pradhans of villages to be included with the city limits, have opposed the government move, saying that they do not want to be included within the Municipal Corporation areas as the civic body has failed to provide proper sanitation facilities and basic amenities for the people.
Bhola Bhatt, chief of the Haldwani block, said the villages do not want to be included in the Municipal Corporation as they will have to pay house tax.Besides, the Municipal Corporation has not been able to ensure door to door collection of garbage in urban areas, he said.
On the healthcare front, a lot needs to be done for the impoverished patients who come for medical treatment to the city from neighbouring areas in Kumaon and Uttar Pradesh due to the lack of healthcare facilities in the remote hilly regions.
The Sushila Tiwari Hospital, the biggest the government-run hospital of Kumaon, caters to more than 1,500 patients in the outpatient department every day. There is no cardiac unit at the hospital and besides grappling with lack of equipment.
Former commissioner of Kumaon division D Senthil Pandian had pulled up the hospital administration for lack of facilities during a visit but reforms have not been carried until now.
The lack of proper street lighting too has been debated in the city of late. A large number of street lights that was installed on the Nainital road and other adjoining roads a few months back are not working as the public works department has not paid the connection charges to the power corporation.
The city had in the past seen haphazard development due to the absence of a development authority. Dozens of colonies were set up without any regulation with narrow roads, making commuting a nightmare.
To regulate constructions projects in the city and ensure that unauthorized construction do to come up, the government set up the Haldwani Kathgodam Development Authority (HKDA), a couple of months back.
Charges for approving house plans, has gone up by more than seven times. Sub divisional magistrate Pankaj Upadhyay, who is also the secretary of the HKDA, approved 104 house plans since the authority began work on 5 July.
This apart, plans for 100 houses have been provided demand notes, which mean that the houses are ready to be handed over to the people on paying the charges. More than 200 house plans are under scrutiny with the HKDA.
Haldwani-based lawyer Dushyant Mainali said the government will also have to look into the problem of pollution due stone crushers, increasing traffic, increasing demand for water and sanitation, so that the developmental projects benefit the people.