Last Updated: September 14, 2023, 00:58 IST
With serious questions being raised over whether the infrastructure in Shimla is bursting at the seams, the government is trying to push forward the proposed Rs 500-crore mountain township project in Himachal Pradesh that aims to decongest the “Queen of the Hills”.
A central team, along with experts, will visit Jathia Devi to assess the viability of the proposed satellite township project to be funded by the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Development. Experts from the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi, along with other members, will visit the site near the Jubbarhatti airport, 12 km from Shimla, over the next three days. Himachal Pradesh has submitted financial details to the central ministry, which will provide liberal assistance for the project.
The decision to push the mountain township project has been necessitated following the devastation caused by recent heavy rain. The need to reduce the burden of new constructions, especially in the congested core area of the town, is being felt more than ever before.
The project would also entail the shifting of some government offices and big institutions to the township, which could face opposition from residents and political parties. Himachal Pradesh is competing with Sikkim, Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh to get the project.
The Himachal Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) had acquired 35 hectares at Jathia Devi. However, around 100 hectares more would have to be acquired for the full-fledged self-sustaining township. It will have all facilities, including hospitals, colleges, schools, banks, and parks, so that a sizable population in Shimla chooses to move to the new township.
Efforts to set up a satellite township during the earlier Congress regime under Virbhadra Singh in 2012-17 did not fructify although an agreement had been signed with a Singapore-based company to help Himachal Pradesh set up the township.