State capital Shimla has been selected as the second Smart City of Himachal Pradesh after Dharamshala that was brought under the Centre’s urban development project last year. The announcement was made in the third and final list of the Smart City Mission at the National Workshop on Urban Transformation in New Delhi today, an official spokesman said here. According to the Union Urban Development Ministry, Shimla along with 28 other cities has been brought under the project, he said. The Smart City status for Shimla was one of the main issues in the recently held Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) poll in which the BJP emerged as the largest party beating the Congress and the CPI (M).
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said it was a moment to rejoice as the Smart City tag would help better standardisation and development of civic amenities in Shimla. The state government had submitted its proposal to the Ministry of Urban development (MoUD) on March 31, he said. The Smart City project would facilitate better infrastructure in water supply, storm water drainage, urban transport, e-governance, capacity building and institutional strengthening, the chief minister said. Singh said the proposal sent to the MoUD, incorporated better management of public transport system, parking provisions besides pedestrian facilities.
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“Management of storm water and natural springs, rain water harvesting tanks in forest areas, redevelopment of zonal hospital, measures to mitigate fire and other hazards could now be efficiently met as these were also mentioned in the proposal,” he said. He said that priority would be also given to develop eco-tourism, adventure sports activities, alternative modes of transportation among others. Singh said the smart city will also enable the rehabilitation of around 800 families presently living in slum areas. Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma, said Shimla submitted a proposal of Rs 2,906 crore that included Rs 1,252 crore was for re-development of Lower Baazar, Sabzi Mandi, Ganj and Krishnanagar; Rs 1,280 crore for retro-fitting of circular road and three transit corridors of the city; and Rs 197 crore for plan-city application of traffic management and citizen security.
Apart from this, solid and waste water management, building safety, disaster mitigation and open and recreational places would also be attended to, he said. The proposal has suggestions of citizens and was discussed in ward meetings, which were also approved by the municipal corporation, the minister said. The matter was pursued with the Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and finally the tag was given to Shimla, he said.