Shimla: Dharamsala, the hill station in Himachal Pradesh that has lured hundreds of thousands of Westerners since Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama settled here, was on Tuesday again included in the central government’s list of Smart Cities.
Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu announced in New Delhi the 13 winners of the Fast Track Smart Cities competition.
They are Lucknow, Warangal, Dharamsala, Chandigarh, Raipur, New Town Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Panaji, Port Blair, Imphal, Ranchi, Agartala and Faridabad.
The state high court on December 17 last year set aside the central government notification to accord Smart City status on Dharamsala under the Smart City Mission.
At that time, the court gave two weeks to the government to review the cities to be included on the basis of required criteria before making fresh recommendations.
The high court judgment came on the petition of Shimla Municipal Corporation Mayor Sanjay Chauhan, who challenged the Centre’s decision, saying it approved the claim of Dharamsala Municipal Council without adopting proper legal procedure.
State Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma had met Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi this month and raised the demand for including Shimla under the Smart City Mission.
He sought inclusion of Dharamsala, his home constituency, under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), which has already been extended to Shimla.
Sharma said the state capital needed to be included under the Smart City Mission keeping in view its pre-eminent position as the largest city of the state and also its historical and heritage status.