Dharamsala Smart City issue to dominate bypoll : The Tribune India

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Dharamsala Smart City issue to dominate bypoll

DHARAMSALA: The Smart City project and second capital status to Dharamsala are likely to be dominant issues in the ongoing Dharamsala bypoll.

Dharamsala Smart City issue to dominate bypoll

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Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, October 2

The Smart City project and second capital status to Dharamsala are likely to be dominant issues in the ongoing Dharamsala bypoll.

The Smarty City project was allotted to Dharamsala in 2015. The project was supposed to bring an investment of Rs 1,000 crore to the hill town. However, the project has failed to take off.

During the last five years, just about Rs 35 crore has been spent on the Smart City Dharamsala project. A major portion of this amount has been spent on establishment expenditures of the project like paying salaries to employees and paying rent of the building hired for the purpose.

The present BJP government in the state has not contributed even a single penny to the project. Even the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), set up to implement the project, has been shifted from Dharamsala to Shimla. Its structure has been changed. Earlier, the Dharamsala Divisional Commissioner was the chairman of the Smart City project and Commissioner of Dharamsala Municipal Corporation the managing director. The government has made the Chief Secretary as the chairman of the SPV and secretaries as members. After the formation of new committee, not even a single meeting of the project has been held.

The Congress has already made Smart City status to Dharamsala an election issue. The CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri, who is handling the party campaign in the byelection, alleged that it was the Congress government that had given the Smart City project to Dharamsala. Citing information laid on the table of the House by the government in the monsoon session, Agnihotri said that the present government has not contributed even a single penny for the prestigious project.

Vipin Parmar, minister for health who is in charge of BJP campaign in Dharamsala byelection, when contacted on phone, said that the project was given to Dharamsala by the Modi government. The project failed to take off as the previous Congress government failed to complete the formalities for its implementation. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had himself laid the foundation stones of various schemes under the project. Work on these projects would start soon, he said.

The other issue that was gaining prominence in the election campaign is second capital status to Dharamsala. Agnihotri said it was the previous Congress government that gave second capital status to Dharamsala. However, the present government has not done anything to implement the decision,

He also alleged that the current Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has not even held the winter sojourn of government in Dharamsala. The practice was followed by the CMs of both the BJP and the Congress since early 1990s.

Parmar, when asked, said the Congress had accorded second capital status to Dharamsala close to the last Assembly elections and it was just as election gimmick. He said that the present Chief Minister had been touring the entire state extensively and he was easily available to the people of state. It was wrong to say that the Chief Minister has given up the practice of winter sojourn. If one compares the amount of days spent by current CM in Kangra with the previous Congress CM, it was obvious that Jai Ram Thakur has been more easily accessible to the people of region, he said.

Mukesh Agnihotri’s charge on Smart City project

CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri said the Congress government had given the Smart City project to Dharamsala. Citing information laid on the table of the House, he said the present government had not contributed even a single penny to the prestigious project.

Vipin Parmar, Minister for Health, said the project was given to Dharamsala by the Modi government. The project failed to take off as the previous Congress government did not complete the formalities for its implementation. 

Second capital tag a poll gimmick: Vipin Parmar 

The previous Congress government accorded the second capital status to it. However, the BJP government had not done anything to implement the decision

The Congress had accorded second capital status to Dharamsala just before the last Assembly elections and it was just an election gimmick.

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