Shimla’s exclusion from Smart City list

HC issues notice to Centre, state

SHIMLA: The HP High Court today issued notices to the Central and state governments on the issue of exclusion of Shimla city from “Smart City Mission”.

Vijay Arora

Shimla, September 17

The HP High Court today issued notices to the Central and state governments on the issue of exclusion of Shimla city from “Smart City Mission”.

While issuing notices, a division bench comprising the Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary further directed Secretary, Union Ministry of Urban Development, Additional Secretary (Smart City Mission) of the Central government, Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary of the state, Commissioner, Shimla Municipal Corporation, and Chief Executive Officer of MC Dharamshala to file their replies within three weeks.

The bench passed these orders on a petition filed by the Mayor of MC Shimla Sanjay Chauhan alleging that while including the name of Dharamsala as Smart City proper procedure was not followed by the state functionaries. It was further stated in the petition that the Central Government came out with the plan in the name of “Smart City Mission Transform the Nation”. The local bodies of the state, Municipal Corporation Shimla and Municipal Council Dharamsala, submitted their claims for including their respective names in the said mission.

It was further stated that the MC, Shimla, presented a fair assessment before the authority and claimed 85 points out of a total 100 points. But, for certain political considerations, Dharamsala, claimed points on the basis of fudged data.

It was further alleged that Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development), who was assigned the work of evaluating the points as per the norms of the Central government, failed to perform his duties.

The Mayor further alleged in his petition that the Additional Chief Secretary has acted under political influence. Since Dharmasala is represented by the Minister of Urban Development, Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development) acted on his instructions.

It was further alleged that the historic city of Shimla was one of the oldest municipalities of the country. Despite that it had been excluded from the list of Smart Cities.

The petitioner has also pointed out that office bearers of the MC Shimla have already made representations to Union as well as state governments. However, no action has been taken in this matter. The petitioner has pointed out that MLA of Shimla constituency has also taken up the matter with the Governor but of no avail.

The petitioner demanded that the office memorandum issued by the Union government on August 27, 2015 whereby the name of Dharamsala has been included in the list of Smart Cities may be set aside and name of Shimla city be included in the list of Smart Cities. The court has listed the matter for further hearing on October 8.

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