Iconic structure or shopping mall? Dhar says Dy CM can tell better on Barik project

Shillong Oct 5: New urban affairs minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar on Monday said that the state government would take a decision in the interest of the state on the issue related to the proposed beautification of Barik point in Shillong city.

There has been a hue and cry over the move of the MDA government to change from an earlier plan to build an iconic structure to constructing a shopping mall.

On the opposition against the move of the present government to build a shopping mall at Barik, Dhar said that he has not been able to meet officers of the department after taking over the urban affairs department. “Whether a mall or other development projects like roads, they are part of the development of the state. But anything we do or decide, it will be for the benefit of the people,” Dhar said.

When asked if as Urban Affairs Minister he would go ahead with the decision of the department to build an “Iconic Structure” at Barik point under Smart City Mission where an architectural design had also been finalised, Dhar said, “we will take the best decision after discussing together.”

Dhar also said that the deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong can tell better on the project at Barik because the area belongs to the PWD (roads).

The United Democratic Party (UDP) which is part of the MDA government has strongly opposed the move of the government to build the shopping mall instead of an Iconic Structure. The Khasi Students Union also opposed the state government’s move to change its decision from building an Iconic Structure to constructing a shopping mall at Barik point.

Former Urban Affairs minister, Hamletson Dohling earlier informed that the state government had in 2019 invited firms to take part in a competition to display their architectural designs for the construction of the proposed iconic structure at Barik junction under the Smart City Mission.

 

It may be mentioned that five firms which include the department of architecture, science and technology NEHU, Design Cell Faws Design Shillong, Flying Elephant Studio Project, Bangalore, M/s Kshestra, Hyderabad and Visio Architecture Ltd Port Louis, Mauritius, had participated in the competition.

Out of five firms, a design prepared by the Flying Elephant Studio Project, Bangalore was selected. The state government had already spent Rs 12 lakh for the purpose.

Dohling had informed that a world class iconic structure would be built at Barik in an area about 3.5 acres of the State PWD (roads).

It was proposed that the Iconic Structure would have facilities like parking lot, park, museum, among others