On the fifth day of the Meghalaya Assembly Autumn Session, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said, the suggestion for the re-development of Barik Point in Shillong is at the conceptualisation stage on Thursday.
Tynsong said in a reply to a question asked by Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh, that debates and consultations with inter-related departments and other stakeholders are going on, therefore, the individual features of the proposed project cannot be disclosed at the moment.
Last year in June, a designing competition was held between architects and designing firms, he informed.
Tynsong said, “From Urban Affairs, (the) invitation was floated under the nomenclature – ‘Re-development/Re-Designing of Barik Point’. Five firms took part, and we declared one winner”.
Tynsong said that the quotation was clearly defined for designing and not for preparing the DPR, on being asked if the Detailed Project Report (DPR) was ready for the said project
Space would be provided to the staff and officers of the PWD Department (Roads and Building) in the new project, Tynsong said when asked by Lyngdoh.
In response to a plan put forward by the East Shillong legislator for the inclusion of local MLAs in the consultation process, Tynsong replied, “It is mandatory that views and suggestions submitted to the department are taken into consideration. We are fully accommodating these views.”
Nongthymmai MLA Charles Pyngrope asked if the (Barik) shopping mall is added in the project. Tynsong replied that the project is added and he has asked about the notice for a question on the details of the designs submitted by the winner of last year’s competition.
Pyngrope suggested ,“Shopping malls are a thing of the past. We request that if you consider any design, avoid a shopping mall and use the space for something else”.
Tynsong replying to a question asked by Mawsynram MLA Hima Shangpliang said that, five lakhs rupees has been given to the winner of the design competition, three lakhs rupees to the first runner-up and two lakhs rupees for the second runner-up.
The aim of the conceptualizing of the project was questioned by Rangsakona MLA Zenith Sangma.
Sangma in his request to the state government for including stakeholders from Garo Hills during the consultation process said, “In a hill station like Shillong, we need walking space; let there be open space, a breathing space”.
Tynsong in response to Sangma’s request said, “The question of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo does not arise. We are one”.
“I was referring to Garo Hills region, and the name of the region is after the indigenous community,” Sangma said.
“Views and suggestions will be taken into consideration,” Tynsong said.
Tynsong responding to Sangma’s earlier question said that the motive of conceptualizing the project is to re-construct the space, since at present Barik Point looks “pathetic”.
Barik Point’s re-development has been perceived as a controversial one by many NGOs and civil society organisations. On Nov 7, seasoned activists like Agnes Kharshiing, Angela Rangad and Tarun Bhartiya were also vocal about their concern against the project along with ‘Fridays for Future’ coordinator Joel Kyndiah.
The project was opposed by the United Democratic Party (UDP) previously, with party adviser and former deputy chief minister Bindo Lanong stating that the land could be used for better purposes, which includes provision of a small parking space for Shillong Civil Hospital.