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‘Divine Dharamshala’ selected as Smart City

Aerial view of Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Aerial view of Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India.

By Tribune India

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 25 May 2016

‘Divine Dharamshala’, as it has been christened in the proposal, was today selected as Smart City by the Union Ministry for Urban Development. It means that the city would receive a grant of Rs 1,000 crore from the union government over the next five years for conversion of Dharamshala to Smart City. Each year the city would receive a grant of Rs 200 crore for development.

The announcement has come as a big achievement for Sudhir Sharma, MLA Dharamshala and the Minister for Urban Development. Sudhir Sharma received a lot of criticism from within the party and opposition for sending the proposal of Dharamshala for Smart City via-a-vis Shimla the state capital.

Sudhir Sharma also converted Dharamshala municipal council into corporation by adding eight adjoining villages in the urban limit to increase the chances of selection under the Smart City scheme. The agenda for inclusion was opposed by elected members of panchayats, but was endorsed by the people, as the Congress won with thumping majority in Dharamshala corporation elections.

The minister, who was in Delhi today, while talking to The Tribune on phone congratulated the people of Dharamshala for the achievement. He said, “I have talked to Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu and he has assured that Shimla being the summer capital of the country would also be covered under the smart city scheme very soon.”

Sudhir Sharma said that Dharamshala fared third in the list of cities announced by the Union Minister for Urban Development today.

An analysis of the proposal sent by the Dharamshala Municipal Corporation under Smart City scheme, which has been accepted by the Union Ministry for Urban Development, reveals that the city would get 11 multilevel parking places and 10 puzzle parkings that would solve the parking blues of the town especially during peak tourist season.

As per the proposal the city would get bike-sharing stations at Bhagsunag, McLeod Ganj, Kotwali bazaar, and Kachehri adda. The city would get 35 e-buses for local transport, and two electrical charging stations would be set up for them. There would 120 bus shelters with public information system, route maps, and safe lighting.

There is a proposal to create 89.8-km additional foot paths in Dharamshala municipal corporation area, 60 smart kiosks, 100 public convenience centres, LED based lighting, and streets varying from nine meter to 12 meter in size.

A proposal has been mooted for creation of rejuvenation centre and funicular at Bhagsunag, tree houses in forest areas for eco tourism, a convention centre, and mountaineering paragliding institute at McLeod Ganj.

History of Dharamshala

After the annexation of the Kangra region by the British after the Anglo-Sikh war, a small contingent of British army was posted at Dharamshala. By 1855 Dharamshala became a small but flourishing hill station and administrative headquarters of Kangra district. Dharamshala had two main areas at that time — McLeod Ganj, named after the then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, David Mcleod, and Forsyth Ganj, named after a divisional commissioner. Dharamshala was formally recognized as district headquarters of district Kangra, that included present districts of Hamirpur, Kullu, and Lahaul and Spiti district, in 1855.

The Tibetan settlement began in Dharamshala in 1959 when the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet and the Indian government allowed him and his followers to settle in McLeod Ganj and Upper Dharamshala. The Dalai Lama established Tibetan government in exile at Dharamshala in 1960, after [which] the area attained international repute as “The Little Lhasa in India.” Dharamshala is also considered as a quasi second capital of Himachal Pradesh, and there was assembly complex here.

BJP leaders claim credit

The BJP leaders claimed credit for Smart City status to Dharamshala. A press release issued here said that Shanta Kumar the BJP MP from Kangra had worked hard for the project. Kishan Kapoor, former minister, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shanta Kumar for the project.

The key features Dharamshala will have

For easy transportation

  • The city will get 11 multilevel parking places and 10 puzzle parkings.
  • The city will get bike-sharing stations at Bhagsunag, McLeodganj, Kotwali bazaar and Kachehri adda.
  • The city will get 35 e-buses for local transport.
  • Two electrical charging stations to be set up.

Other infra

  • There is proposal to create 89.8-km additional foot paths in Dharamshala municipal corporation area.
  • Plan is to have 60 smart kiosks, 100 public convenience centres, LED-based lighting.
  • A proposal has been mooted for creation of rejuvenation centre, tree houses in forest areas, a convention centre and mountaineering paragliding institute at McLeod Ganj.

“Shimla will also be covered”

“I have talked to Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu and he has assured that Shimla being the summer capital would also be covered under the smart city scheme very soon.” Sudhir Sharma, minister for urban development.

From TribuneIndia.com

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