Dimapur: A City of Villages
Dimapur is considered one of the fastest growing towns (now “city”) in North East India. There has been tremendous growth of infrastructure, density of population, increased per capita income - almost everything needed to be “urban.” But on the other hand, there are doubts as to whether the “city” is actually becoming more rural than urban as the number of villages is increasing day by day.
According to available data, there are 222 villages (recognised and unrecognised) under Dimapur district. Of these, 206 villages are recognized by the government while 16 villages are not recognised. Niuland has the highest number of villages. Although some of the villages are quite old, there has been tremendous rise in number of small villages in the last one decade. There has also been 48.05 % decadal growth of rural population in Dimapur district.
According to sources, in the Niuland sub-division, 4 villages were established this year alone and are awaiting government recognition. Niuland has the 79 recognised villages. There are also reports about some wealthy land owners are offering free CGI sheets along with cash to lure people to settle in their villages. Several communities migrating from interior districts are also purchasing land on share basis to establish villages, it is learnt.
Most of these new villages are very sparsely populated. In 2010, a weekly newspaper reported about a village in the outskirts of Dimapur with just seven houses and the entire population consisting of Bangladeshi immigrants. A man from Khehuto village said told this Reporter: “If you have enough land, it is very profitable to set up a village these days.”
The increasing number of villages is also seeing more rural development funds being poured into the district. According to Department of Rural Development, 197 villages in Dimapur district are getting funds under various Central and State sponsored flagship programmes. Official reports say that each year, approximately Rs. 60 to 70 crore is being commissioned under these rural development programmes for Dimapur district.
The number of villages has been rising since the launch of these programmes, it is learnt.
There are several villages “within the city” as well. Dimapur Sadar has 12 villages with some in the midst of border disputes with neighbouring Assam. It is interesting to note that the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and several government offices next to it are located in a “village.” Similarly, some of the most posh areas in Dimapur like Sovima, Naharbari, Thahekhu, Kuda and Diphupar are actually “villages.”
In spite of the socio- economic changes propelled by urbanisation, Nagas have not been able to disconnect from their village life and relive it where ever they go. Also, there are other “economic” factors related to the mushrooming of villages. But as long as this trend continues, Dimapur can never really become urban in the real sense.
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