Opposition Congress oppose construction of a shopping mall at Barik point.

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On the last day of the Autumn session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, the opposition Congress has opposed the move to construct a shopping mall at Barik point even as the state government has assured that the views of all stakeholders will be taken into consideration before taking a final call on the matter.

Replying to a question raised by East Shillong MLA, Ampareen Lyngdoh in the Assembly on Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister in-charge PWD (Roads), Prestone Tynsong said the proposal of setting up of an iconic structure in the PWD complex at Barik is at the conceptual stage.

When Tynsong replied that it was inclusive as far as the shopping mall is concerned, Nongthymmai legislator, Charles Pyngrope said that the idea of shopping malls has become a thing of the past.

He pointed out that states like Maharashtra have witnessed a loss of 80 percent footfall to the shopping malls which now looked like “graveyards” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even as most of the shopping malls in Guwahati, Assam are closed as everybody is going online. If you consider the design (of the iconic structure), the aspect of a shopping mall should be avoided and instead use that space for something else,” Pynrope asserted.

To this, the deputy chief minister assured that the state government will take into consideration the views and opinions of all stakeholders for the interest of the state and the people as a whole.

He also said that it is also mandatory that views and suggestions of the MLAs be submitted as the government is fully accommodative when Ampareen requested the need to include MLAs since the project is in the heart of the city.

Tynsong further informed that the process of consultation is on with interrelated departments to also take their views into consideration with regards to the proposed redevelopment of the area.

“Once we get all details, the government will take a final call on this issue,” he said.

On the competition organized by the urban affairs department for the redevelopment of Barik point in June, last year, Tynsong said that five firms have participated of which one of them was treated as number one.

The government has considered awards of Rs 5 lakh, Rs 3 lakh, and Rs 2 lakh for the first, second and third prize respectively, he said.

When Rangsakona legislator expressed concern that stakeholders from Garo Hills are not being consulted despite Shillong being the state capital of the state, Tynsong however assured that he has noted down all points raised in the form of supplementaries.