The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India in partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched North Eastern Region Capital Cities Development Investment Programme (NERCCDIP) with the objective to improve environment and well-being of urban residents in the five capital cities of the north eastern states. These five capital cities are– Agartala (Tripura), Aizawl (Mizoram), Shillong (Meghalaya), Kohima (Nagaland) and Gangtok (Sikkim). The investment programme includes Water Supply, Sewerage & Sanitation, Solid Waste Resource Management and Development of Urban Institutions and Capacity Building.
Physical infrastructure and services, including water supply, sanitation, drainage, solid waste management, urban transport and roads are grossly inadequate in the capital cities of the North Eastern states. The percentage of the population with access to central piped water supply system ranges from 50 per cent in Shillong to 80 per cent in Gangtok. Service levels are poor. Piped water is available for a few hours a day in Agartala, whilst in Aizawl, Kohima and Shillong, water supply is available only for a few hours a week during the dry season. Distribution systems in all the cities are old and inadequate; production capacities in Aizawl and Kohima are substantially below demand. Most cities have “bunched” service connection systems with consumers making their own connections from small supply tanks.
There are no centralised piped sewer systems in the cities except Gangtok where the system caters to only about 12 per cent of the population. About 72 per cent of households in the region have septic tanks or soak pits with wastewater percolating into the soil and an overflow to the nearest drain.
An analysis of urban institutional and financial frameworks suggests that weak urban governance and management systems are responsible for poor performance in urban planning and provision of infrastructure and services in these cities. The situation with respect to urban governance is further complicated by conflicting modern legislation and traditional governance structures prevailing simultaneously in some cities.
The Government of India and the ADB, in collaboration with the state governments outlined a roadmap for the capital cities in the North Eastern states. Apart from the physical infrastructure, it also sets a vision for the development of urban governance, finance and service delivery frameworks. It entails a number of reforms towards advancing municipal reforms. Interventions are directed to developing legislative and institutional frameworks for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and strengthening the capacities of ULBs for effective and accountable urban service delivery.
In Mizoram, a pilot project has been taken up as per community action plan for solid waste management so that a successful model could be replicated by others. The pilot project will be taken up in 5 Local Councils Area (Laipuitlang, College Veng, Nursery Veng, Chawnpui and Kanan Veng) within Aizawl Municipal Council.
The programme has led to a improvements in physical infrastructure and services in the region. It is promoting economic development through expansion of basic services such as water supply, sewerage, sanitation and solid waste management of the capital cities. It has also strengthened the service delivery capacity of each of State urban agencies and ULBs through management reform, capacity building and training. Mizoram’s capital city Aizawl is at the forefront of the development.
State Investment Programme Management & Implementation Unit (SIPMIU), Aizawl has completed the implementation of Tranche-1 Project aimed at short-term improvement in water supply.