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Posted at: Sep 2, 2015, 12:29 AM; last updated: Sep 1, 2015, 11:21 PM (IST)

HP, UK to collaborate in urban infra development

Foreign investment

  • On March 19 this year, British High Commissioner James Bevan met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and expressed desire to invest in areas such as tourism and education. He said Britain was keen on greater people-to-people contact by way of partnership in various sectors.

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, September 1

Himachal and Britain are exploring the possibility of collaboration in the area of urban infrastructure and planning, transport, waste management and in setting up of mega projects like Smart City.

British Deputy High Commissioner David Lelliott today met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and other senior functionaries of the state government here today. He held deliberations with Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development and Town and Country Planning) Manisha Nanda with regard to urban infrastructure and urban designing of projects.

It was on March 19 earlier this year that British High Commissioner James Bevan had met Chief Minister Virbhadra and expressed desire of investing in areas like tourism and education. He had said Britain was keen on greater people-to-people contact by way of partnership in various sectors.

“We are exploring the possibility of collaboration with Britain in fields like urban infrastructure, designing of projects, waste management, urban transport and skill development, in which they have shown interest,” said Nanda.

She added that this was just the preliminary level talks and later discussions would be held with experts from Britain with experience in these fields.

Britain is also learnt to be keen on entering into a cultural exchange programme for students in Britain and Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) and also other educational institutions. This will help in the two countries in building strong ties through cultural ambassadors. Chief Minister stressed on this cultural exchange programme taking shape at the earliest.

Other areas of interest include projects in tourism and power sector for which there is immense scope in Himachal.

With Shimla town already having been chosen under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) project of the Union Urban Development ministry and Dharmshala for being developed as Smart City, there is a possibility of hand holding between the two countries in these two mega projects.

A total of 40 cities in North India, including Shimla, figure on the list of AMRUT projects which will deal with issues like water supply, sewerage, storm water drains and urban transport. The Centre will provide assistance for preparation of service-level improvement plans (SLIP) under AMRUT scheme

Officials said that Britain was already working in these prioritized areas with the state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Rajasthan. Another area where there is possibility of a tie-up is skill development, an area which Himachal is very keen to strengthen in view of the unemployment scenario in the state.


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