SHILLONG, Aug 12: The clamour for transfer of defence lands to the state government has taken a new turn with some section of the citizens from the city choosing to differ with the whole idea.
According to the opinions of these townspeople, the Army authorities should not transfer even an inch of their land for the purpose of civilian use and must continue to keep them under their jurisdiction.
This they attribute to several reasons and hope that the British era defence properties in the town remains as it is, now.
There are opinions that if the defence lands are transferred for civilian use then there will be more encroachments in the offing. Their perspectives indicate that had the citizenry been sensible then this clamour would have been justified whereas, in the present circumstances, if there is any transfer, say, then venues, such as, the Laban field will become another “Golf Links”. It may be mentioned that the picturesque Golf Links has become a smut-land due to thepicnicking activities by locals and others, alike.
The Gold Course as a result has lost its sheen. Similarly, those who are against the transfer of defence land in the city for public use are of the opinion that, say, if the Laban Field is laid open for the civilians then gradually it will be swallowed up starting with vendors and hawkers and a time will come when the field will no longer be seen. Those who are aware of these facts envisioned the lost landscape that this field allows now with the inverneil green hills of Greater Laban at the backdrop.
The solution for the traffic mess is not the annexation of defence lands to civilian areas, they opined, since the same land may not be enough to quench space for traffic – which is ever rising. To tame traffic, the state government is advised to takes lessons from others states where older vehicles are phased out after a time besides odd-even rule as seen in the national capital.
There are opinions that if the defence authorities parts with its lands then the last of the greens may well vanish from the precincts of the city. Places like the Garrison Ground, Laban Field, Pine Walk, 101 Area, Lawsohtun, Bishnupur and several others have remained pristine green and many observed that they may not remain the same once they shift to the state government.
Many have even pointed to the attempt by the state government, in the past, to construct the assembly at the three part Tara Ghar Bungalows opposite the Ward’s Lake in European Ward, which would have removed the only green lungs that exist in the city’s perimeter, today.
There are concerned opinions emerging from the public that the “oxygens” may vanish with the transfer of defence lands. These concerned citizenry are of the observation that the defence authorities should acknowledge the difficulties that the commoners are facing as a result of the closed gates of Pine Walk, Anjalee Cinemal Hall lane and others.
The adamantine attitude of the defence authorities, they fear, should not end up parting with their lands for civilian purposes – which if happens shall change much of the landscape in contrast with now.
Morning walkers and joggers pointed that they will be deprived of the natural ambience which they experience in 101 Area, Lawsohtun besides other defence areas in the city.
There are strong opinions that the defence green belts are in fact maintaining the balance between nature and unscientific urbanization – that has turned this town into a concrete jungle.