Monday, June 17, 2024

Shifting Urbanization in Ukhrul: A Pathway to Sustainable Growth

Date:

EKHON | UKHRUL: Ukhrul, the picturesque hill town in Manipur, serves as the headquarters of the Tangkhuls and holds significant cultural and administrative importance. As a beacon of progress for the Tangkhul community, Ukhrul has seen a steady influx of people from all the villages. However, this migration has brought about considerable challenges, primarily in terms of urban congestion and infrastructure strain. To sustain Ukhrul’s growth and preserve its cultural essence, shifting urbanization is not just an option but a necessity. The Ukhrul of 20 years ago (as I remember) contrasts starkly with the Ukhrul of today.

The Immediate Need for a Bypass Highway

The pressing issue of traffic congestion in Ukhrul, a town characterized by a single main road, underscores the urgency for a bypass highway. The current road infrastructure is inadequate to support the increasing number of vehicles and people. Completion of the proposed bypass highway is critical to alleviate traffic pressure, improve connectivity, and facilitate smoother transportation. This highway will not only reduce congestion in the town center but also enhance accessibility to surrounding areas, fostering economic activities and development in these regions.

Exploring New Settlement Areas

The heart of Ukhrul is already saturated, making it imperative to identify and develop new areas for settlement and business activities. There are several potential sites on riverbanks, the lower slopes of hills, and in nearby villages that can be transformed into thriving townships. These areas offer ample space for residential and commercial development, ensuring a balanced distribution of the population and reducing the strain on the main town.

Developing these new zones requires meticulous planning. Ensuring proper connectivity to the main town through well-planned roads and infrastructure is crucial. These new developments should integrate modern amenities while preserving the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region.

Urban Planning and Architectural Vision

Ukhrul’s future growth hinges on strategic urban planning and architectural foresight. The Greater Ukhrul Plan proposed by oja Ram Muivah presents a visionary framework for the town’s expansion. To bring this vision to fruition, collaboration with skilled urban planners and architects is essential. These experts can help craft a comprehensive development plan that outlines how Ukhrul should evolve over the next 30 to 50 years.

This long-term planning should include regulations for new constructions, such as mandatory parking facilities in buildings along the main road. Such measures will address immediate necessities like parking shortages and prevent future congestion. Urban planning should also focus on creating green spaces, promoting sustainable building practices, and ensuring adequate public services and amenities.

Embracing Sustainable Development

Sustainable development should be at the core of Ukhrul’s urbanization strategy. This involves balancing growth with environmental conservation and community well-being. Embracing renewable energy, enhancing waste management systems, and protecting natural resources are crucial steps towards a sustainable future.

Moreover, engaging the local community in the planning process ensures that development projects align with the needs and aspirations of the residents. Public participation fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the town’s growth and sustainability.

Shifting urbanization in Ukhrul is not merely about expanding the town’s boundaries; it is about envisioning a future where growth is managed thoughtfully, inclusively, and sustainably. By completing critical infrastructure projects like the bypass highway, exploring new areas for development, implementing strategic urban planning, and embracing sustainable practices, Ukhrul can accommodate its growing population without compromising its cultural heritage or environmental integrity. As the pride of the Tangkhuls, Ukhrul town has the potential to set a benchmark in balanced urban development, ensuring a vibrant and prosperous future for its residents.

(The piece is written by Dawny Zingthanwo Raikhan.
He can be reached at dawnyraikhan@gmail.com.)

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