Himachal Govt wants 90pc central funding for Dharamshala Smart City

DharamshalaaThe Government of Himachal Pradesh has urged the Central Government to provide 90 per cent grant for the Dharamsala Smart City project.

In other words, the State Government wants 90:10 cost-sharing pattern for the project, wherein the Union Government would contribute 90 per cent grant for the project, while the State would contribute just 10 per cent.

At present, the Union Government has proposed grant for the Smart City scheme under the 50:50 pattern in which the state would contribute 50 per cent grant for the project while the Union Government would contribute the rest 50 per cent.

However, according to sources, in the last Cabinet, some of the ministers objected to the 50:50 sharing pattern for Dharamsala Smart City project. The ministers were of the opinion that the project would be worth Rs 2,500 crore. This means that the state government would also have to contribute Rs 1,250 crore under the current pattern of sharing.

Some of the ministers had said that the State, with its meagre resources, would not be able to contribute so much money that for the smart city project. Minister for Urban Development and Congress MLA from Dharamsala Sudhir Sharma said the Cabinet had cleared the Smart City project for Dharamsala under the current sharing pattern.

“Since Himachal is a special category state and receiving grants under 90:10 sharing pattern from the Union Government, we have urged the Centre to provide grant under the same pattern for the Dharamsala Smart City project. I have already talked to Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu on the issued and he has assured to consider the Dharamsala Smart City project under the 90:10 scheme,” he said.

The minister said the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for implementing the Smart City project had been formed and it would receive first instalment of Rs 200 crore from the Centre soon.

The sources, however, said that the Centre had adopted 50:50 sharing pattern for the smart city projects throughout the country. In case special treatment was given to Dharamsala and grant sharing pattern was changed to 90:10, similar demands might arise in other states also. However, in case the sharing pattern was not changed, Himachal would be forced to contribute Rs 1,250 crore for the Dharamsala Smart City project. That State might find it difficult to shell out that much money for just one city.

Dharamsala was selected under the smart city scheme in the fast-track round announced by the Central Government. Dharamsala attained third position on the list and even left behind Chandigarh in the criteria evolved by the ministry.

The Dharamsala Municipal Corporation under the Smart City scheme has proposed that the city would get 11 multi-level 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, McLeodganj, 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 proposal to create 89.8 km additional footpaths in the Dharamsala Municipal Corporation area, 60 smart kiosks, 100 public convenience centres, LED-based lighting and streets varying from 9 meter to 12 meter in size.

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

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